## Base Ten Blocks

#### • Number: Place value, Operations (+, -, x, ÷)

Originally these blocks came in different bases, hence the name Multibase Arithmetic Blocks (MAB). They are sometimes referred to as Deinnes Blocks, after Z.P. Deinnes who popularized them.

#### Technical Note:

Base Ten Materials are pre-bundled. Prior to using Base Ten Blocks students should bundle sticks.

## Mathematical Language

Block, cube, flat, place value, rod, tens, hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions.

## Using Base Ten Blocks

Base ten blocks are pre-bundled proportionally sized materials that illustrate the place value relationship that 10 ones make 1 ten and 1 ten = 10 ones. Each piece is ten times the size of the previous piece. Ten small cubes fit along the length of one long piece. Ten longs fit along a flat. Ten flats may be piled to make one large cube.

These relationships are designed to show the multiplicative nature of our base-ten system.

*Base Ten Blocks are designed to help students understand place value. *

This relationship helps students understand that 10 ones is 1 ten, 10 tens is 1 hundred and 10 hundreds is 1 thousand.

Rather than refer to the pieces as 1, 10, 100 and 1000, the terms **unit** (cube), **rod**, **flat** and **cubes **are used. Later, when students move from whole numbers to decimal fractions the values of the pieces may be renamed. If the flat is given a value of 1, then the rod would represent one-tenth or 0.1 and the unit cube would represent one-hundredth or 0.01.

#### Representing numbers

Students need to be taught to represent numbers using the blocks. Thirty-seven is shown by setting out 3 rods and 7 units.

#### Adding numbers

Students need to be taught to represent numbers using the blocks. Thirty-seven is shown by setting out 3 rods and 7 units.

#### Subtracting numbers

Subtraction involves setting out the correct number of blocks and then removing some.

Fifty-seven take 23 would involve setting out blocks to represent 57 and then taking 23 blocks away. This would leave an answer of 34.

## Typical Classroom Requirements

Class sets:

Minimum:

500 unit, 50 rods, 50 flats, 4 cubes

Recommended:

1000 units, 100 rods, 100 flats, 6 cubes.

## Support and Complementary Materials

Place Value Dice will generate four-digit numbers that may be

represented using Base Ten Blocks.

Dr Paul Swan Base Ten Blocks Book

Place Value Spinners will emphasise the ‘Hundreds Tens Ones’ pattern for naming numbers.

A Place Value Mat helps students to keep track of their blocks when performing calculations. Placing materials on to a Place Value Mat will help to emphasise the positional move nature of our place value system.