# Cuisenaire Rods and Base Ten Blocks

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I am using Singapore Early Bird this year for K, and I want to supplement with something "hands-on". I'm really attracted to trying Miquon Math, which I know uses the rods.

However, I confess I know nothing about math manipulatives. I don't recall ever using them in elementary school, but I probably did I suppose.

What is the difference between the rods and the base ten blocks? Do I need both? I'm just really not clear how to "use" these!! Can anybody explain?

Thanks!

Shanna

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Cuisenaire rods (ala Miquon) are colored blocks of differing lengths. Each color/length represents a number from 1-10 and they are in scale to one another; ie. the purple "4" rod is twice as long as the red "2" rod. They help a child visualize what they are adding/subtracting/multiplying/dividing.

Base ten blocks are used for teaching place value primarily. You can "see" how 100 is made up of ten "10"s, etc.

They are not interchangeable.

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I've never done Early Bird, but my ds used the rods with SM 1A & 1B. He learned them when we tried Miquon, but it wasn't the best fit for him. Either that or I needed that diary to go with it.

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Not all children need manipulatives, either Cuinsenaire rods or base 10 blocks. If your dc seems to be doing well, there's no good reason to add something else.

Cuisenaire rods and base 10 blocks are the only manipulatives that make sense to me. I took a class a number of years ago that was all about manipulatives, and we spent 2 hours doing stuff with stuff that was fun but that didn't help me understand what actual, practial use they were.:tongue_smilie:The last hour we did base 10 blocks, and I was stoked.:001_smile:

Moving With Math uses base 10 blocks. There are units, rods, flats and cubes. 10 units equals one rod. 10 rods equals 1 flat (or 100 units). 10 flats equals 1 cube (or 1000 units). Base 10 blocks really help dc with math functions and place value. They are solid color; that is, all the pieces are the same color.

Cuisenaire rods are also very kewl. There are 10 sizes, each size a different color; here's the link to Mathematics Made Meaningful, my favorite product to use with the rods, and you can see the tray with all the colors. White is one unit; red is the same size as two whites; yellow is the size of three whites or one white and one red; purple is the same size as 4 whites, two reds, or one yellow and one white...and so on.

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Thanks for the explanations and suggestions. I think my dc do need something concrete to help them understand the concepts. They've really enjoyed the hands-on activities we've used that were suggested by SM, but it would be nice to just have them ready to go rather than me fishing around the house to find "manipulatives." ;)

I guess all this will make more sense once I purchase something and use it. Thanks again for the explanations - I see that I have more research to do! And thanks for that link, Ellie - I'll check that out.

Shanna

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I absolutely love Cuisenaire rods and Miquon for introducing a child to the world of math. They have been immensely useful to us.

I strongly prefer the C Rods to the "unit" base-10 blocks because the rods allow children to see relative "values". And to recompose values (using different combinations of rods) in different ways.

They are great for "greater than less than" and addition and subtraction, and naturally lead a child to understand the "number bonds" used in Singapore Math.

The "unit" base-10 blocks encourage "counting", which to my mind is not a plus.

However the base-10 flats (100 value) are a great thing to add to a Cuisenaire Rod set. That way the "flats" are 100s, the "Orange" Rods are 10s, and the various other C rods take the "unit place. This is a wonderful way to teach "place value" in a concrete fashion.

The base-10 blocks are the same scale as C Rods, so they really are interchangeable. A "flat" is 10x10x1 cm. The same as using 10 Orange Rods.

So a 155 set of C Rods and (10) base-10 "flats" is what I recommend. I wish I could swing 10 base 10 cubes (thousands) but at \$6 a piece, we make do with base-10 cards (from Right Start) that include cubes.

Bill

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We've used both here. I use base 10 blocks for place value, and for showing addition with carrying or subtraction with borrowing.

Cuisenaire rods are good for things like multiplication, fractions, and area vs. perimeter.

Both are fun for building, LOL!

Merry :-)

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I absolutely love Cuisenaire rods and Miquon for introducing a child to the world of math. They have been immensely useful to us.

I strongly prefer the C Rods to the "unit" base-10 blocks because the rods allow children to see relative "values". And to recompose values (using different combinations of rods) in different ways.

They are great for "greater than less than" and addition and subtraction, and naturally lead a child to understand the "number bonds" used in Singapore Math.

The "unit" base-10 blocks encourage "counting", which to my mind is not a plus.

However the base-10 flats (100 value) are a great thing to add to a Cuisenaire Rod set. That way the "flats" are 100s, the "Orange" Rods are 10s, and the various other C rods take the "unit place. This is a wonderful way to teach "place value" in a concrete fashion.

The base-10 blocks are the same scale as C Rods, so they really are interchangeable. A "flat" is 10x10x1 cm. The same as using 10 Orange Rods.

So a 155 set of C Rods and (10) base-10 "flats" is what I recommend. I wish I could swing 10 base 10 cubes (thousands) but at \$6 a piece, we make do with base-10 cards (from Right Start) that include cubes.

Bill

:iagree: that for some kids base ten rods would get kids to count. We also have MUS rods, which might not be the same thing, but they have those raised squares (1 on the 1, two on the 2, etc, up to 100 on the 100 ones.) My younger two used them, and my youngest would count with them, although my middle dd didn't. This is why I used the C rods for ds. However, my eldest two didn't really need rods.

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