Samantha Circles

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The Maker of “Samantha Circles,” designed a tool intended to facilitate student understanding of fractions. She explains the structure of the object: “My design is a series of rings that rest on a cylinder. The rings are the main aspect of the design, the cylinder is merely for storage and to assist in manipulation.” The tool allows the user to move the rings in relation to one another in order to compare different fractions between 0 and 1. The Maker that her motivation behind the design was that “for many students, they understand numbers, but fractions are tricky because they require students to visualize that bigger numbers are actually smaller, and smaller numbers are bigger.” “Samantha Circles” provides the user with a tangible experience of this concept. In addition, the Maker explains, “Each student could use it in a completely different way to achieve the same result, and that was my main goal with this manipulative.” This illustrates that the tool has its own magic, and that a student can use it in a variety of ways to arrive at their own solution. Finally, the tool’s unique shape is intriguing and promotes student interest in the manipulative, prompting them to explore in order to gain deeper mathematical understandings.