Home-School Tutoring Sussex and Kent

From Dusty and Unloved to Division Superheroes.

If you’ve got some Cuisenaire Rods gathering dust in a cupboard, now’s the time to get them back out and use them for making maths easier.

Children need to use actual, physical resources as the first step to learning a new concept. All too often, we jump straight into the abstract and wonder why children struggle to understand us.

Cuisenaire Rods are cheap, easy and effective, so why do we leave them alone and unloved in a tub? Give these little guys a second chance and get your value for money.

Cuisenaire Rods can be used to introduce the concept of division in a meaningful way. Despite being a maths tutor now, I didn’t understand division until I went to secondary school. I knew my tables well, but I just couldn’t grasp division. Maybe the fantastic plastic rods would have saved me from the horror of the flying maths book as my teacher shouted about how stupid I was (nice lady!)

Start by creating the number at the start of the division sum (the dividend) out of rods. Then get some of the rods that are the same value as the second number (the divisor) and build a ‘train’ until you have two ‘trains’ of equal size. How many of the shorter rods did you need? (that’s the quotient, or answer to put it simply). It’s as straightforward as that.

And that’s not all! You can model the other members of the ‘fact family’ by grabbing some rods that have the same value as the quotient and making another ‘train’ the same size as the first two.

When children are allowed to explore maths, they can return to the familiar patterns they have built. They begin to investigate different strategies for problem-solving. Encourage them to share their strategies, modelling with Cuisenaire Rods and they will start to analyse and make sense of numbers.

At Home-School Tutoring, our tutors are always looking for the best way to make their students understand challenging concepts. With our expert tuition, we can help your child overcome their academic obstacles.