Base Ten Blocks

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  • Reviewed on Saturday, March 31, 2001
  • Grades Used: 2-8
  • Dates used: 1994-1998
Base 10 blocks make the essence of our number system concrete, and I found them indispensible for teaching place value, powers of 10, the metric system, regrouping in addition & subtraction (carrying && borrowing), multiplication, and decimals.

If you get a wooden set, I think it is very cool to be able to *feel* the difference between 100 and 1000 by holding a flat in one hand and a cube in the other.

You can also extend the Base 10 set downward by buying decimal chips that represent tenths. These are available (plastic only) from Delta Science and Math, and I believe I've seen them elsewhere. I never bought decimal chips, and instead had my children envision the thousand cube as a one cube seen through a microscope. Suddenly I have manipulatives for tenths, hundredths and thousandths, with no extra money spent.