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After reading about C-rods here and other places I bought a big pack of them. Mostly I am interested in using them with my seven year old although all the kids have been playing around with them. She is struggling with her addition facts. So I am wondering what activities all of you do with them? Do you use them with certain workbooks or can you give me some ideas on better ways to incorporate them?

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Just let her build with them.


In a little bit, you can play the clean-up game we play. I dump out some rods, and then we try to "stump" each other. So I will hold up a rod (say a purple) and she will have to pick up a train of two rods that are the same (say two reds). If she can, she can put those away. As you get towards the end, it really does become possible to "stump" the other (ie she picks up a light green and there are no reds left).


Another thing we do is build addend towers. You can see that in action here.


Of course, they are great for showing that 3x5 is the same as 5x3 (three yellow rods will make the same rectangle as five light greens).


They are awesome for visualizing addition facts, even ones past ten. (You can actually SEE that to add eight to five, you can add up to ten with a five and you still need three more to add the complete eight.)


If you pair them with base ten flats, you can build 3-digit numbers.


There's so much more too! We love C rods!

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My daughter had trouble with addition/subtraction. I couldn't get her to stop using her fingers to count on (she's 7 y.o.). She would just freeze up with flash cards or when she had to do mental math. The abacus was the answer. It helped her to start seeing how to put the numbers together. If you do use one make sure five beads are one color and five beads are another (ours are yellow and blue) and not the same color on each string. That way she see can see right away the number 14 vs. 16 with the beads. I liked it because I could see how she was thinking with it without being obtrusive or asking her. . .C-rods may do the same thing but boy was the abacus a lifesaver for me. I could see the real difference when we did math sprints after two weeks.

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I'm using them with a PreK'er doing K math right now, so haven't done anything with 2nd grade math, but I just incorporate their use into the regular curriculum we're using (Singapore). So when the problem says 6+3, I tell my son to get the 6 and the 3 out, make a train with them, and find the rod that is the same length. He immediately knows this is the 9 and picks it out, proves that he's right. Sometimes he'll then decide he wants to find out what 9+9 is and we'll go from there. ;) Or for a missing addend problem, it would say 9 is ___ more than 6. I would have him get the 9 and 6 rods out, lay them next to each (side by side, not end to end), then pick out the rod that fills the hole to make them the same length. Again, he can easily see that a 3 rod needs to go there.


This is a child that struggled with learning to count to 10 initially, and he is really taking off with the C-rods. He's even randomly spouting off addition facts lately - ones we haven't done in our curriculum yet. I don't think he'd be adding at all if it weren't for C-rods.


Oh, and to begin with, I let him just play with the rods, and we also built a staircase so he could see the relationships. Random C-rod play is very beneficial!

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