Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Fun With Cuisenaire Rods

Yesterday we played with the Cuisenaire Rods. Pepper was having tears and stress over her math problems. I got out the rods, which ALWAYS results in groans and usually more tears, and wails of "I hate math blocks!" I don't know what it is about using manipulatives to solve math problems that makes my kids crazy, but they all have resisted it.

Unless I can trick them.

I explained Pepper's page to her in about 45 different ways and she still didn't get it, crying the whole time (her, not me). I peeked ahead to the next page, but knew her tolerance for math was shot for the day, so closed the book.

Then I asked Banana Boy, "Wanna play a fun game???????"

I laid out the next page's problem for him with the rods. The question was 7 + 9 = __ + __ = ? where the two blanks must be the same number. (the answer is 8, BTW)

BB started to puzzle it out, when Pepper leaned in, all interested, and grabbed her own rods to try to figure it out. Daisy, too, got in on the action. Suddenly, I was in demand to "make another one for me, Mama!" Go figure.

We completed that whole page of problems. I asked, "Want to do another page?" to a resounding chorus of "NO!s"

Then I got out our rod book Hidden Rods, Hidden Numbers

I made a problem for Banana Boy, but it was too hard for him. Pepper tried it and was able to solve the first one. Daisy wanted to play, too, so for the next half hour, I read them problems from the book and they solved them with rods. Very fun.

Here is a sampling of the problems from the book:

Four rods.
All different.
Longest rod shorter than yellow.

(find the four rods)

Five rods.
Train is longer than purple but shorter than orange.
All the rods are alike.

(find the five rods)

Problems from Set 1, p. 1-30

w = 1
Longest x 8 <> 32
Shortest x 7 > 20
Train of evens = 8

From Set 2, p. 31-60

A) 1 number
B) it is less than 45
C) it is a multiple of 6
D) twice the number is greater than 60
E) it is not a multiple of 4
The number is ______

From Set 3, pp. 61-78

Answers are in the back of the book.

From what I can tell at Amazon, the book seems to be out of print, but is available used. If this looks like a game your children would enjoy, try to pick up a copy.

1 comment:

Recovering Noah said...

I actually started to have a panic attack reading this post. My kids are just plain out of luck. I'm gonna have to hire a tutor.