There are few manipulatives out there that are as interesting and beautiful as a wooden set of Cuisenaire® Rods. Developed 75 years ago by Belgian teacher Georges Cuisenaire these “rods” come in beautiful colors in varying lengths.
The units are color-coded which provides additional visual cues for children. If you look carefully at the above photo, you can see that the units of 1 are white and the units of 2 are red, units 3 are green and so on. When using them with children, you can refer to the lengths by their unit number as well as their color.
Unlike Unifix cubes, traditional Cuisenaire ® Rods do not attach to one another (although there are sets that do attach). This provides a different set of possibilities for children as their uses may be less obvious and may require a bit more ingenuity.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about the “trading game” that is played with the family bear counters. Well, a more developed “trading game” can be played with the rods since each of the rods has a specific value. White is worth 1 and red is worth 2 and green is worth 3. In order to get a green rod, children must trade 3 whites, or 1 white and 1 red. Give this a try and tell us what you think.