Introduction to Fractions Using Cuisenaire Rods

Gwendolyn M. Manson Benjamin Banneker
6656 S. Normal
Chicago IL 60621
(312) 535-3020

Objective(s): Grade 5 (1) Students will visually "see" and manipulate fractions with Cuisenaire Rods staircase to develop concept and fractional relationships. (2) Students will learn numerical values of rods and relate them to color and length. (3) Students will use varied approaches to discovering new fractional relationships that answer the "why" in fractions and lessen "the only one way" hazard. (4) Students will write a problem-solving story that is interest-based but also demonstrates basic understanding of fractions and vocabulary usage. (5) Students will relate fractions in a relevant way to their culture. Materials Needed: (1) Cuisenaire Rods - One set per student (2) Overhead Projector - Class (3) Overhead Cuisenaire Rods - 1 set per class (4) Acetate Sheets - 6 per class (5) Grease Pens - Two per class (6) Poster Boards - One per five groups (7) Magic Markers - One per five groups (8) Worksheets (2) - Two per student Strategy: (1) Display objects and discuss why fractions are important and needed in real-life situations, i.e. sewing, fabric measurement, money, recipes, telling time, body measurements, etc. (2) Students will work in cooperative groups (A-E) and build a rod staircase. (3) Students will explore, examine and learn the colors, lengths and numerical value of each rod. (4) Students and teacher work together using the Overhead Projector with Cuisenaire Rods to develop and write fractional equivalents and relationships. (5) Learners will make values of ten using each of the colored rods. (6) Students will do multiples of the white, red and light green rods. (7) Display an orange rod and show that it takes two yellow rods to make an orange rod. Write in the following manner: O = 2 Yellow 1/2 O = Y (8) Do the same with the Red (R), Dark Green (D), and Brown (N) which are multiples of two. (9) Students discover the multiples of three, i.e. E=3G read as Blue equals three Green, 1/3 E=G. (10) Students will do a self checking worksheet to answer a Cuisenaire Rod riddle. (11) Students will form cooperative groups (A-E) to write a mathematical story for a specific combination of Cuisenaire Rods displayed on the Overhead Projector. References: Using the Cuisenaire Rods, A Photo Text Guide for Teachers - Jessica Davidson
Cuisenaire Company of America, 12 Church Street, New Rochelle, NY 10805
Return to Mathematics Index