Cuisenaire Rods - History and use
During the period when children use the rods only for building, they are quick to show an appreciation for the manner in which colour is used to denote length, and how colour identifies rods that can be placed end to end to make up the lengths of other rods.
That the children have noted the physical properties of the material is confirmed when they answer questions about the rods, with accuracy and with their eyes closed.
We can work on this knowledge, once acquired, to provide the further vocabulary enabling them to inform us about their activities in the precise terms customarily used in mathematics.
When you have a moment, spend a little time making patterns with the Cuisenaire® rods and make a few discoveries for yourself. If they are conveniently to hand, say on a table top, you will find yourself compelled to play with them. Almost without conscious effort you rearrange them constantly, forming patterns and shapes and buildings.
Respectfully, we suggest that your constructions will seldom match those made by your children for originality and imagination, but nevertheless they will surely bring some satisfaction and, probably without your noticing, some familiarity with relationships of colours and lengths.
The characteristic of length and colour has made its impact on you from the time you are aware of accounting for it as your designs take shape. These first impressions and the observations you make compare with what your children experience from the moment they begin to use the rods.