1. This video shows how to teach addition and subtraction with Cuisenaire rods. I also discuss the terminology that should be used when introducing the addition and equals signs.

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2. A short video about teaching how to add one to any number using Cuisenaire Rods. Oftentimes, children are taught this with symbols only…

1+1=2
2+1=3
3+1=4
4+1=5

… and they are expected to see the pattern in these symbols in order to remember that when adding one the answer is the next counting number. The problem is that this does not build number sense. It is another rule to remember.

If you use Cuisenaire rods to teach this concept, then children have a mental PICTURE they can refer back to as well as having TOUCHED these numbers and, suddenly, it becomes more concrete and less abstract to them. Their brains are much more likely to understand and remember math concepts if they are taught this way instead of with symbols only.

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3. Kids LOVE this game. The more you play it up, the better. I couldn't show that very well here because of having to hold the camera at the same time. Make it FUN!!!

This can also be played in pairs or groups - perfect for a classroom!

I'd say the most important use of this game is to teach the number bonds through 10 (numbers that add up to 10 or less). Once children have those memorized, they can use that information to do any other math without having to memorize anything else! (though, I will say that it is very helpful to have QUICK recall of multiplication facts. But, kids should also know how to figure out the facts if they ever forget. More on that in a later video....)

I got this idea from Crewton Ramone's House of Math. Lots of good ideas there. He uses different blocks than we do, but it's the same basic idea.

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4. This is a fun math activity to help kids learn the number bonds (or fact families) to 10 using Cuisenaire rods and Hundred Flats from a Base Ten set. This is so much more fun and effective than drill of addition and subtraction facts! And, it not only teaches them their math facts, but it gives them a conceptual framework as well - something that will NOT happen if they are primarily working with symbols on paper, which is all too common.

Another great thing about this activity is that it is self correcting. If they are doing a "seven" tower and try to use a 4-rod and a 2-rod, their tower is going to fall. This also enforces that 5+2 or 6+1 or 3+4 will ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS be 7. This is not always clear to children - especially if they are used to counting on their fingers or doing Touch Math.

This game/activity incorporates the auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learning styles. Effective and fun!

You will need a small group set of Cuisenaire rods (not the connecting kind) and a set of Base Ten Hundred flats (which you can purchase by themselves without having to buy the rest of a Base Ten set).

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5. This is a fun activity to do if you have wooden Cuisenaire Rods. Learn your addition and subtraction fact families while you play - no worksheets needed! And no writing involved for preschoolers or kids with dysgraphia! A few minutes a day of this is all you'll need to have your facts within 10 memorized!

Education Unboxed Plus

These videos explain how to teach addition and subtraction with Cuisenaire Rods as well as give ideas for games and activities to play with the rods.

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• Amazing. I'm a primary school teacher and I have never had such an explanation that makes it so revelatory easy, at last. I'm going to use this. THANK YOU!!!

by Sylvanus

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