## Wednesday, April 18, 2007

### Yay for Cuisenaire Rods

I sent a version of this to the Miquon e-mail list this morning, and I thought it could go on the blog as well.

People often want to know how to use Cuisenaire rods, and the main thing they think of is putting them together to add. If their kids don't want or need to use them that way, the rods get discarded. But there are many other reasons and ways to use them! Today's math lesson with Crayons illustrated that for me.

First of all, I didn't think I'd actually be using the Orange book (the first Miquon workbook) with her this year; I had planned on waiting until first grade. However, she's an eager beaver and somehow or other I got bamboozled into letting her do a lot of the Orange pages.

A couple of days ago I decided to try--just out of interest--seeing if she could grasp the "2 3's" multiplication idea that is introduced in the Orange book. I showed her that we can write a "thing that looks like a letter X" in between the numbers and so "2 x 3" is read as "2 3's."

(Now, those of you who don't have Miquon workbooks handy, be patient--I'll try and describe as clearly as I can what went on here.)

Yesterday I had her do just the left-hand column of page F-4--several examples of repeated addition. 8 + 8, 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 3, and so on. She used a pile of white rods (one cm long each, so they usually represent 1) and made groups of threes (or whatever), then counted them up to find the answer. (On this page, it's not required that you actually find these sums; I just had her do it for some adding/counting practice.)

Today I had her do the right-hand column, which is to match multiplication expressions (2 x 8, 5 x 3) with the addition expressions from yesterday. I just had her say the left-hand column out loud (how many 8's do you see? 2 8's) and then find the matching expression on the right.

THEN--for the next page, F-5, which is very similar, a column of multiplication to be matched up with repeated addition expressions--we had a bit more fun. First I took the right sets of rods for each expression (4 5's (4 yellow 5cm rods), 3 2's (3 red 2cm rods) etc.) and put all the sets on the floor underneath the book. She had to read 4 x 5 ("Four fives") and then point to the right group (she thought that was really easy).