A look at Cuisenaire Rods and Pattern Blocks


cuisenaire_rods1Compiled by Robyn, South Africa ~ © September 2006




Cuisenaire Rods are rectangular blocks used to teach arithmetic. As seen right, each

of the 10 rods has a different colour and length – the white rod is 1cm long, the red

2cms, the light green 3cms and so on, up to a 10cm-long orange rod. A basic set

consists of 74 rods (22 white, 12 red, 10 light green, 6 purple and 4 each of yellow,

dark green, black, brown, blue and orange). One set can be used for 2 people.


Buy your Cuisenaire Rods in South Africa from

Articles on Cuisenaire Rods


Excellent Article on Teaching Math by a Homeschool Mom - See Section on Starting out with Cuisenaire Rods


Turning the Tide on Times Tables - Cuisenaire rods make maths come alive - Lila Das Gupta


Cuisenaire Rods: Space, Colour, and Mathematics by Carolyn True


Cuisenaire Rods In The Language Classroom - John Mullen


Cuisenaire Rods -  A Few Different Uses


Free Lesson Plans and Activities for Cuisenaire Rods


Cuisenaire Rods for Modeling Mathematical Concepts – Introductory Level


Excellent Free Cuisenaire Games Booklet & Cards to Download


Lessons for Today’s Classroom using Cuisenaire Rods


19 Cuisenaire Activities from NRICH Maths - University of Cambridge


Cuisenaire Rod Patterns – Grade 2 level


Learn Fractions with Cuisenaire Rods – Six Lessons


CUISENAIRE RODS Compiled by Doug Brumbaugh College of Education


Multiplication, Division & Fractions with Cuisenaire (save and print - this is an excellent 18pg booklet with games & ideas)


Cuisenaire Rod Activities – from Math (See Make a Rectangle & Make a Red Train)


Cuisenaire Mats


Maths Games from Scholastic – see How Long? How Many? (Gr3–5)


Cuisenaire Rod Math Games, from Paula H


Recommended Books


Cuisenaire Alphabet Book by MARIA MAROLDA (Grades K-4)

Here is a great way to introduce your child to Cuisenaire Rods. It uses a simple two-page format for each letter of the alphabet. The left-hand page shows an outline of a letter with instructions to cover it in different ways, using the rods. Objects whose names begin with the corresponding letter are on the right-hand side, and these are also to be covered with rods. There are questions that involve counting, spatial relationships, addition sentences, early multiplication and problem solving. Grades K-4. 64 pages.


Picture Puzzles with Cuisenaire Rods By Patricia S. Davidson and Jeffrey Sellon (ETA Cuisenaire)

This 64-page book offers worksheet puzzles presented in a simple self-checking crossword puzzle format. When your child records their answers with rods on the grid pattern, they create a word, pattern, or picture. Gr 1-6.


Using the Cuisenaire Rods: A Photo/Text Guide for Teachers by Jessica Davidson (Grades 1-8)

Written by a teacher with years of experience using Cuisenaire Rods, this great resource is a comprehensive "how to" book for a wide range of math topics. 150 pages.


Supersource for Cuisenaire Rods Gr K-2

There are three books in this series: K-2, 3-4 and 5-6. These books enhance mathematical thinking and conceptual understanding rather than particular skills such as addition and subtraction, although some activities do focus on these skills. Charts at the front of each book show which concepts or skills are covered in each activity, and they can be done in any order you choose.


Downloadable Page Samples of lots of Books including all the Cuisenaire Books





Pattern Blocks consist of six different coloured shapes: green triangles,

orange squares, blue rhombuses (60-degree angle), tan rhombuses

(30-degree angle), red trapezoids and yellow hexagons.

The blocks have similar angles and lengths so they can fit together

to make larger solid shapes. A full set of 250 Pattern Blocks consists

of 25 yellow hexagons, 25 orange squares, 50 green equilateral triangles,

50 red trapezoids, 50 tan rhombuses and 50 blue rhombuses.


Free Lesson Plans and Activities for Pattern Blocks


Pattern Block Activities on the Web


Pattern Block Activities By Marilyn Burns - Scholastic


Working with Pattern Blocks


Ideas for Pattern Block Manipulatives Gr 2-8


Working with Fractions Using Pattern Blocks


Pattern Block Trains


Investigating Tessellations Using Activity Pattern Blocks


Pattern Block Relationships and Information about degrees


Pattern Block Activities from Scholastic


Understanding Fractions Gr 5-8


Kindergarten Math Unit – Some involve Pattern Blocks



Recommended Books

Investigating with Pattern Blocks Gr. K-3

This teacher-resource book contains thirty class activities using pattern blocks. The book is divided into six clusters. The intent of the first cluster, "Getting to Know You," is to channel children's natural curiosity so that they can recognize key characteristics of the blocks. In the "Creative Designs" cluster, children are encouraged to use pattern blocks as tools to create, analyze, and compare original designs and communicate about what they have done.


Pattern Blocks Activities by Barbara Bayha Gr K-8

Building with colourful Pattern Blocks is an excellent way for students to sharpen problem-solving skills and investigate patterns, numbers, operations, geometry, and measurement. Each page offers a new challenging activity with clear directions and questions the whole class can discuss once the shape or design is completed. Includes extension ideas and activities at three levels of difficulty. Task Cards sold separately.


Exploring With Pattern Blocks by Vincent J. Altamuro


Super Source for Pattern Blocks Gr K-2








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