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.

Pom-pom Place Value

I’ve loved our pom-pom magnets that we made awhile back. But up to this point, Little One has been the only one to use them. So the other day, I pulled them out for our place value lesson.

On our magnetic white board, I drew the three place value houses. Little One, who is always wanting to be in the big middle of Big Brother’s lessons anyway, was allowed to choose how many pom-poms went in each house. Then, my son wrote the number below the houses and read it off to us. He’s always so impressed when the numbers are larger than one hundred.

It was so much fun! I think place value is my favorite math concept to teach—so many fun ways to practice it.