Definitions

# Cuisenaire rods

[kwee-zuh-nair, kwee-zuh-nair]
Cuisenaire rods are a versatile mathematical manipulative used in elementary school as well as other levels of learning and even with adults. They are used to teach a wide variety of mathematical topics such as the basic four operations, fractions , area, volume, square roots, solving simple equations, systems of equations, and even quadratic equations.

Though primarily used for mathematics, they have also become popular in language-teaching classrooms, particularly The Silent Way,. They can be used to teach items such as prepositions of place, sentence and word stress.

The rods (réglettes in the original French) are named after their inventor, Georges Cuisenaire (1891-1976), a Belgian primary school teacher, who published a book on their use in 1952 called Les nombres en couleurs. The use of rods for both mathematics and language teaching was developed and popularised by Caleb Gattegno in many countries around the world.

In the system, there are 10 rods measuring 1 cm to 10 cm. Rods of equal length are assigned the same colour. Most Cuisenaire rods follow this system:

## Other coloured rods

In her first school, and in schools since then, Maria Montessori used colored rods in the classroom to teach concepts of both mathematics and length. This is possibly the first instance of colored rods being used in the classroom for this purpose.

Doctor Catherine Stern also devised a set of coloured rods produced by staining wood with aesthetically pleasing colours.

And in 1961 Seton Pollock produced the Colour Factor system, consisting of rods from lengths 1 to 12 cm. The odd-numbered lengths have cold colours, and the even-numbered lengths have warm colours.