All About Cuisenaire Rods

Cuisenaire Rods are an important part of the Miquon Math Labs program, being a tactile element that helps children visualize and understand concepts better.

Before a child can grasp the abstract ideas needed for computational skills, the concrete foundation must be laid. These colorful rods, based on a 1 cm. unit, accurately portray the volume of a number. They encourage tactile manipulation of numbers and model-building, patterning and spatial discovery. Rods are flexible – they can be used to model almost any mathematical concept and develop a wide variety of skills.

Invented by Georges Cuisenaire (1891-1976), they were popularized by Caleb Gattegno in the 1950, just before Lore Rasmussen began to develop her Miquon Math Labs ideology. The original set was wooden rods in centimeter lengths from 1cm to 10cm, each painted a different color to enhance visual discrimination between the values they each represented.

Today, Cuisenaire rods are available in their standard form (solid, color-coded lengths), or in connecting single-unit pieces for greater flexibility.

A variety of Cuisenaire rods and related activity books are available from Rainbow Resource Center.

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Have questions about Miquon Math Labs or teaching math to your children? Contact one of Rainbow Resource’s friendly Homeschool Consultants (weekdays from 9am to 5pm Central):

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