Cuisenaire Rods - Addition Families

We used Cuisenaire Rods to determine different combinations of numbers that would total 4, 5 and 6.

Last week I wrote about a complicated Cuisenaire Rod activity which involved estimating, multiplication and addition - Multiplying and Estimating with Cuisenaire Rods.
This week I'm taking many steps back and writing about a much easier Cuisenaire Rod activity to find addition number families.

The kids began with a purple rod which represented a 4 unit of measure. Underneath the purple rod, they placed combinations of rods that would result in an equal length. In the above photo, the green rods represent 3, the red rods represent 2 and the white rods represent 1.

After finding the combinations, equations were written to match the discovery.
4 + 0 = 4
1 + 3 = 4
1 + 1 + 2 = 4
2 + 2 = 4

The process was repeated for the yellow rod representing 5,

and the blue-green rod representing 6.

During the process of discovery, my daughter commented "Now I get to write 1+1+1+1+1+1=6. That's a long one." She enjoyed the activity and was quite willing to jump into 7's a few days later.

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  1. That's a really great activity. We have those rods and the kids play with them often, but I never really know what to do with them. I'll have to try this!

    1. We've had them for a long time and haven't done much with them. This year is different. They've been used frequently and I have a few more posts coming on activities with Cuisenaire rods.


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