A significant portion of Common Core Standards for Kindergarten, 1st Grade, and 2nd grade show mastery with concrete objects in play. Meaning that students can reach “mastery” using base ten pieces, counters, or bead racks. These manipulatives aren’t a crutch; rather, they are considered developmentally appropriate as students build conceptual (true) understanding of math concepts. Gradually these supports are intentionally pulled and replaced with different ways of representing numbers.