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RightStart Math users - manipulative questions

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

My charter school is buying RightStart Levels A and C for my two youngest kids, but they don't want to buy the manipulative kits because they already have many similar thinks in their own inventory (things like tanagram pieces and geoboards and centimeter cubes (and even an alabacus) ). If I can't convince them to buy some of the more unique things (like the math games kit) I'll probably buy them myself. But I was wondering if the place value cards are something that would be easy to make - they look like they would be easy to make on card stock. The abacus tiles also look like something I could construct with the hundreds tiles I already have - by coloring dots on the squares - and they would hold up better than the card stock tiles they have for sale. Is there any reason I would need the ones sold by RightStart?

And is there any reason I would need the following as sold by RightStart rather than one the charter might have in stock as generic items?:

color tiles
fraction chart
geometry reflector
geared clock
individual items in the drawing kit - t-square, trangles, or Safe-t compass

It would be easier if they would just order the kit, but it doesn't seem like it will happen! I'm hoping I can get them to order the math games set, or else I'll order it myself

post #2 of 7
Hi Jeri!!

I don't know if you remember me, but we met many years ago when I was in San Diego... you and I and Lucy got together a couple of times at the park

Anyway, I've been using RSM with both of my kids and no, I don't think you need to buy the stuff from RSM. Just use the "generic" stuff and you are right about the place value cards. Make them (and make TWO sets, I have two and am always so glad I do!) and save the cash.

Much of the RS manipulatives hardly get used. The centimeter cubes I think I used twice (if that) and the 100's abacus card thingys are useless.. just use a card, it doesn't need to be 3-d... same with the 1000's cubes... a PITA to put together and store and they are easily torn, etc.

My oldest finished level E this past spring and we are moving on to Life of Fred. My younger is doing level C this year I love it and the boys really respond to it well.

Best of luck to you! Glad to see you here

post #3 of 7
Most things you can use generic items instead of buying from them. Some you can make yourself like you mentioned.

It is crucial that you get the right kind of abacus, so I recommend buying one of the ones on their site. You can make your own, but you'll be using this all the time, and you want it to be sturdy and have colors in the right places, and the place values on one side.

Another thing that I think is worth it to get is the place value cards. Yeah, you can make your own, but these are super, super sturdy and just perfect to use. We use them quite often, and they're well worth the $5.

The Card Games are another good investment. The cards are high quality and rugged for lots of use.

Everything else, either make or use generic stuff.
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
They actually had an alabacus (or one that looks just like it) in their store room, so we have that. They're looking to see if they can find me a second one (so my kids don't fight over it )
post #5 of 7

I know that this is an older thread, but I'm bumping it up to hopefully get some more insight into which manipulatives I NEED to have, and which ones I can cobble together.  I'm planning on starting this as soon as I can get things together and place my order with Rightstart for the rest, but I have to do this on a budget as we've made a few expensive curriculum mistakes over the last year and now we're having to start fresh mid-school-year.


I'll be having a level B and level E student for sure, and probably my youngest will be wanting to participate as well so she would be in level A.


I'm pretty sure they'll each need their own abacus, and we'll need the math balance, card game set.  I already have the centimeter cubes, geoboards, tally sticks, and a geared clock.  But what about the wooden 1" cubes?   The geometry reflector?  The colored tiles?  Fraction charts?  


Any help will be great!  Until spring comes and the homeschool FSOT market picks up I can't count on recouping any of the money I spent on our other curriculums so I have to cut all the corners I can!

post #6 of 7

I've been through level E with my son.  Currently using level A with my daughter.  So I can't *promise* about what's needed in level B but hopefully this will help.  We also didn't buy all the manipulatives through RS, because we're in Canada and I wanted to minimize shipping costs.  :)


Wooden 1" cubes -- I bought similar ones from a local craft shop rather than order them.  Never actually used them for level E.  I think a couple lessons, they COULD be used, but we didn't.  They're generally used for demonstrating area by piling them onto a shape, for instance.  Showing how measurement relates to physical objects... like, lining up 8 one-inch blocks is more physically meaningful than just saying a line is 8" long.  The same idea is easily demonstrated with the centimeter cubes, just the numbers are different.


The geometry reflector -- my understanding is that this is one that is very useful, but not necessary.  A mirror can be substituted.  It's not used in level E.  I did buy one for level A because it just looks easier than using a mirror.  But I didn't buy it from RS, I bought a similar one from a Canadian educational supply shop.


The colored tiles -- you can do without them.  But honestly?  They are just SO useful.  And really, they're quite cheap.  I did buy these from RS.  If you don't buy them, you need some other kind of manipulatives that you can use for grouping, counting, tiling over areas, patterning, etc etc... with at least 3 (but preferably 4) different colours, and at least 5 dozen of them.  For the price of them, I say get them.  We use them in nearly every lesson... even when not specifically called for, I often find them convenient for demonstrating something.  And there are enough of them that I could split them between the two kids.


Fraction charts -- I splurged on the wooden puzzle for this, since it's such a beautiful physical hands-on demonstration of how fractions work.  It's certainly not necessary.  The kids will make fraction charts through the lessons themselves.  The plastic fraction charts are quite cheap, and are a good quick resource.  There are also other wooden fraction puzzles out there -- especially if you look at Montessori supply shops.  Different layouts (eg, circles), same concept.  

post #7 of 7

This was so incredibly helpful; exactly what I needed to know!  I can't thank you enough! 

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