Place Value with Cuisenaire Rods

We’re still taking our time through A Beka’s kindergarten math, rabbit trailing into other things when I feel the need to go more in depth with a concept. Place value was one of those concepts, and my rabbit trail took us to back to Math Mammoth (big surprise, right?) and our cuisenaire rods.

Because place value is such a foundational concept, I really wanted to ensure that my oldest knew this well, especially as we begin to head into more complicated addition, multiplication, etc. And Math Mammoth had some great game ideas. Though her plans call for household manipulatives (straws, beans, etc.), I couldn’t resist the opportunity to pull out our colored rods.

For our first game, I set out a handful of white “one” rods and had him group them by tens. Each set of ten he took to the “bank” and exchanged for an orange “ten” rod. Then, he would say the number of tens and the number of ones left: “1 ten and 5”; “2 tens and 3”; “3 tens and nine”; etc.

place value | cuisenaire rods | supplementing A Beka

After we’d played this game for awhile, I had him count to 100 using the tens and ones method. Each time he got to the next “ten,” I’d hand him another orange rod, and he’d begin again: “1 ten and 8, 1 ten and 9, 2 tens…2 tens and 7, 2 tens and 8, 2 tens and 9, 3 tens…”

place value | cuisenaire rods | supplementing A Beka

It was a great visual lesson, and I really think the c-rods were perfect for the games. Besides, it’s always so much fun to bring a little color to math. Next up, a few lessons with the abacus! I can’t wait.