Cheap n’ Cheerful Cuisenaire Rod Rack for Math

Math table!!!  Big kid doing math test, little kid doing rod addition!

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Following my new choose-her-own-Miquon philosophy, Naomi chose and worked this entire sheet almost without complaint!  Numeral reverals are still troubling her, and she gets very frustrated when I point it out, so I have backed off a bit.

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Rainbow Resources sells a Cuisenaire Rod Track and I decided it would be a good thing to have – two days too late to add it to our order last week.  The track itself costs only $4, but with shipping, well, a lot more.  So I decided to make one to tide us over until my next Rainbow order (this was only my third, so really, they’re not very frequent).

Here’s the REAL THING:


And here’s my DIY version!

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They didn’t have any trays that were a) this long, b) this sturdy and c) not quite so seasonal… sigh.

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There is exactly 1cm between the rulers, allowing up to 30cm of rod length to slide neatly in between (the original is 50cm long).  The three rods at left add to 27cm (10+9+8); so do the seven rods at right (2+1+6+1+9+4+4).

I hope it’ll look slightly less gluey when it’s dry, but really, I couldn’t care less.  We’ll have the real thing soon enough, no doubt.  It’s only $4, and looks way deeper than mine, so GZ would probably enjoy it for lining up his trains.

Speaking of cheap n’ cheerful, I was thinking more about sandpaper letters and quickly threw these together while Naomi was practicing Handwriting Without Tears today.  She did the ones on the right:  I wrote the letters with marker and she traced them somewhat messily with glue.

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To make the raised letters, I used the dyed baby pasta I made for our Israel map project back in June.

Fun with manipulatives!!!


  1. Fancy-talk for "she writes her numbers backwards"! :-)))
    Click the math worksheet and look at the bottom-right problem - 6+3=9. She can DO the math, no problem, but nobody would ever be able to read her answers... :-(


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