Bundling Sticks

• Number: Counting, Place Value


As the name implies bundling sticks are designed to be bundled in tens. They are designed to be used prior to Base Ten Blocks. Children bundle 10 ones (sticks) to make 1 ten, 10 tens to make 1 hundred.

Teacher Tip

Use the smallest size elastic band that you can buy. This will save young fingers having to twist the band and reduce the ‘pinging power’ in case any student is tempted to flick the elastic band toward another student.

Mathematical Language


Number names 1 – 10, place value.

Using Bundling Sticks


This manipulative should be used by young children before working with Base Ten (MAB) materials.
Young students need to be encouraged to count large numbers of objects if they are ever to see a need for place value. The sticks are simply left on the floor in a large pile and the student asked to count them. Ideally the student should ‘see’ that it is more efficient to put the sticks into piles of ten when counting large numbers. If the student simply counts in ones, then interrupt the count so that the student forgets how many have been counted. Alternatively, once a count has been completed simply pose the question: ‘Are you sure?” Students will soon realize that counting in ones is inefficient.
Bundling sticks have specifically been designed to fit together and an elastic band can be placed around groups of ten sticks.

Typical Classroom Requirements


Class set:

Minimum Requirement: 1000 sticks
Ideal Requirement: 4000 sticks

Support and Complementary Materials


A place value mat will help students to keep track of their bundles.

After becoming competent in the use of bundling material, students can move on to Base Ten materials.