Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Number Rods

I neglected my number rods because i thought its purpose was only to teach the child numbers from one to ten. Until, i read Leptir's blog! I never knew the extra lessons such as additions, that came with this material! I was inspired!

First, we determine the number on each rods. I then began my additions activity.

10 + 4 =?

I started by asking N to pass me 14 rods. Of course, he looked confused. I instructed him to hand me rod number 10 and 4. I joined the two rods together and we counted the total number which was 14. I told N 10 and 4 makes 14! He was amused! He quickly returned the rods and waited anxiously for my next instructions.
I asked for 19, 11, 12 etc, he was quick to catch the concept and handed me the correct number of rods. :)

Next, i showed him other additions. I took number rod 2 and 3 and joined them together to make 5. I placed the number rod 5 above the 2 joint rods and showed him that they were the same (length). From here, he has learnt and remember that 2+3=5! We also dabbled with 5+4=9.

 As an impromptu, i showed N a 'trick'. First, i laid the rods according the height/numerals.

I took 10 and 1 to make one rod (which makes 11), 9 and 2 to make another rod (to make another 11), 8 and 3...so on. With this, we made a block! We did over and over and each time i would recite, 10 + 1 = 11, 9+2 also equals 11...etc.

I had much fun with this. THank you Leptir once again! Do hop over to her site, she has given a comprehensive tutorial on this activity!

I have to add this, you really don't need a montessori material to do this. Don't spend that unnecessary money ( i only realised this AFTER i bought my set). You can do this activity EASILY with Lego sets too- just make sure you build them in alternate colors (blue, red, blue, red etc). Otherwise, there are many free downloads you can print. Granted they might not be 3 dimensional, but i feel if its able to bring the message across accurately, that's fine!


  1. But you do these exact same activities with those math beads ...

  2. you're right! Its the same! but i realised these gave better visual than those yellow beads. Because its larger and easier to handle. Those beads were kinda small to do individual counting, but good for counting in tens, hundreds etc.

  3. Yes, that's true. About the size i mean. I did the bead stairs with my son, and the number recognition, and then on to addition as well. For a while, I was using printouts for the golden beads ... haha! I just got some golden beads yesterday only. Wanted to work with him on them yesterday but we had guests and he was in no mood, so we'll see when. haha - i'm not very consistent. Not easy too, when there are 4 kids vying for my time. I feel very guilty when the older ones keep trying to talk to me but the "baby" is fussing away. Like my elder boy was trying to discuss a particular music piece he found the other day. *sigh*.

  4. WHAT?!?! FIrst i thought you have 2 kids, then i realised, there was TJ..so i concluded you have 3...now you are telling me you've got 4??!!! WOW HOW DID YOU DO IT? It's not easy, i salute you! And still making effort to homeschool-really! Hey, but your kids are musically talented! Wish i could interest my son too! :I

  5. i don't really homeschool - just that my youngest is only 2yo, so haven't bothered to put in school yet, lah. Then also looking for suitable school.

    Yes, my eldest is a girl - she's just finished her O-levels.

  6. Hi,

    How to teach 1+1 or 2+2 with the number rods?

  7. Hi, I don think you can teach multiple addition using number rods unless you got 2 sets of number rods. Better to use other manipulatives like ice cream sticks?


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