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Math Games Using Manipulatives Lisa Kihn

These activities are appropriate for grades 3 – 8. I use these games as a way to build spatial awareness. Math activity stations can be set up throughout your classroom for students to engage with when they are finished with other work.

Math Games Using Cuisenaire Rods

Tower Of Hanoii

1. On a piece of paper, draw 3 large circles next to each other. Label them A, B and C.
2. Start with three Cuisenaire rods of different shapes stacked like a pyramid in the center circle.
3. The goal is to shift all three rods from the center circle to one of the outside circles, while following these rules:
1. You can only move one piece at time
2. Pieces must be taken from the top of the pile and placed in either an empty circle or on top of an existing pile
3. Only smaller pieces may be placed on top of larger pieces
4. Once you have completed three successfully, try four and then five
5. Work your way up to a tower of seven

Cuisenaire Rod Pictures

1. Set up graph paper that matches the size of the rods.
2. Have students form pictures using the rods on the paper and outline the design.
3. Other students can then try to replicate the design on their own with their rods.
4. They can also put parameters around their designs, for example asking if they can make the design just using the given rods. (all red or one of each color, etc.)

Pattern Blocks

1. Set up graph paper that matches the sizes of the pattern block.
2. Have students form pictures using the blocks on the paper and outline the design.
3. Other students can then try to replicate the design on their own with their pattern blocks.
4. Pictures may be colored.

Tangrams

1. Use tangram blocks or cut some out using card stock paper.
2. Have students practice putting them together to form a perfect square.
3. Students can also form pictures using all the pieces and outlining it on a blank piece of paper.
4. Other students try to replicate this picture using their own blocks.