885 Views 8 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  lach
I was hoping someone could explain how I could use a base ten set to solve math problems.

I haven't posted here in forever. Sorry. I have two boys, ages 8 and 6. We have always homeschooled, doing something that closely resembles unschooling simply bc it was what they wanted.

They both seem to have a very natural knack for number manipulation (like their father!) but they haven't had any formal math instruction and they get very little math play with me (bc I stink at math).

I want to nurture their math understanding and development but I need serious help! What I do know is that my 8 year old HATES math worksheets. I also know that they are both hands-on learners. So I figured we could play with a base ten set; it would be fun and it would nurture math development.

The thing is that I don't know how on earth to use it! I know how to use to represent place value but they both understand place value very well into the 100s and 1000s. Someone told me I could use the base ten set to do addition, subtraction and other math problems. I have tried googling and I cannot find anything to point me in the right direction.

Can anyone tell me how to use a base ten set to solve math problems? I was taught math with a chalkboard (probably why I dislike it) so math manipulatives are sort of alien to me.

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I know it is probably obvious to a lot of people, but could you describe your set. I went to buy one and found out that there are a lot of differences between sets.

If you are talking about a pile of cubes for the ones, some rods for the 10s, and a flat square for the hundreds, then I can help you.

I have 32 (pull three rods and 2 unit cubes and put in a small pile)
You have 19 (pull 1 rod and nine unit cube for the second group)
How many do we have all together. Show how when you combine the groups, you can take the 11 cubes and swap out for another rod) So now you have 5 tens and 1 ones, so 51. (At our house I follow up with showing how to carry the extra ten on paper, but you don't need to do that if you are avoiding paper style math)

Similar with subtraction, just sometimes you will need to trade in a ten for some unit cubes (borrowing).

Multiplying/dividing, I stay basic with things like "if there were four groups of kids and each group had 5 kids, how many kids in all" And, then I make the four piles of 5 cubes. We play with the piles. First we count them all, then maybe count by fives, then say it in a sentence "so four groups times 5 kids equals 20 kids". Maybe find other equivalents. . .can we take these 20 kids and put them into 2 equal groups? 3?

Hope this helps.

Amy
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Amy, thank you. That does help. My set sounds like yours: units, 10 rods, 100s flats and a big 1000 cube. Someone was telling me about using question cards or something (??) and then using the set to work the solution. The way you describe makes sense to me. Math does not come naturally to me at all and I think I have a little math phobia too. My boys seem to have that natural knack that I lack and it's the one area in our unschooling lives where I see they are not getting many resources to experiment with numbers. Thank you for your help!
Think of it kind of like playing with coins, where you can trade up and down when you get enough smaller coins.

So the way to represent 1,347 is 1 thousand + 3 hundreds + 4 tens + 7 ones.

If you want to add 835 to that, you now have 1 thousand, 11 hundreds, 7 tens, and 12 ones.

Which is inefficient. If you went to the bank and got out that much money in pennies, you'd have a whole lot of pennies. And unless you're having a super cheap yard sale or a coin collection, you don't need that.

So you take your 12 ones, and notice that there's a ten in that, with 2 left over. So now you have 1 thousand, 11 hundreds, 8 tens, and 2 ones.

8 tens looks pretty good.

11 hundreds not so much. Again, convert that to 1 thousand and 1 hundred.

For subtraction you do the same thing. The unit system basically is multiplication. Set up rows of units to show the answer (5 rows of 7 to show 5x7. Then for the trick question, ask them what 7 rows of 5 will get them). For division you'll go back to the bank system. For example, 30 divided by 2. You have three 10 blocks that you need to divide into two piles. One 10 here, one 10 there... oops, there's a 10 left over. Go back to the bank and get ten 1s, and divide those.
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I just wanted to say we are using McRuffy color math and you really might want to look into it. It uses a lot of games and manipulatives. It does have one work sheet for each lesson, but it is not just a sheet of endless problems. It does graphing, pattern blocks, logic exercises, along with traditional math problems. My DD is not a work book fan, but she really loves this program. The teachers manual is super easy to use too.
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 Originally Posted by lach Think of it kind of like playing with coins, where you can trade up and down when you get enough smaller coins. ... If you went to the bank and got out that much money in pennies, you'd have a whole lot of pennies. And unless you're having a super cheap yard sale or a coin collection, you don't need that.
I get it! The lightbulb went off! OMG, thank you. How you describe it makes complete sense to me. Thank you!
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by meetoo I just wanted to say we are using McRuffy color math and you really might want to look into it. It uses a lot of games and manipulatives. It does have one work sheet for each lesson, but it is not just a sheet of endless problems. It does graphing, pattern blocks, logic exercises, along with traditional math problems. My DD is not a work book fan, but she really loves this program. The teachers manual is super easy to use too.
Thank you. I will look into that!
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I briefly explain a game using the blocks in this blog post: http://serendipitymama.blogspot.com/2009/06/recap.html

Let me know if it isn't clear. It's a lot of fun, we play it often. It's nice using the white board and to write our new number each time so you get the written visual as well.
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 Originally Posted by LeftField I get it! The lightbulb went off! OMG, thank you. How you describe it makes complete sense to me. Thank you!
No problem
My other specialty is explaining base systems other than base 10. So I'm here if you ever need that
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