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Number Rods and Cards

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Number Rods and a set of cards on which are printed the numbers 1 – 10. 


  1. Invite the child to the lesson. 
  2. Ask the child roll a large rug out on the floor. 
  3. Ask the child to lay the number rods randomly on the rug. 
  4. Establish a front to the rug “This is the front where we will work.” 
  5. Invite the child to come with you to the shelf. 
  6. Show him the number cards. 
  7. Ask him to bring them to the rug. 
  8. If necessary, move any number rods that are near the bottom of the rug out of the way. 
  9. Randomly place the number cards near the lower edge of the rug. 
  10. Place the number card 10 last, to introduce it to the child with drama. 
  11. Ask the child to say the number of each card. “Let’s say the names of these.” 
  12. Select a random number rod, and ask the child to find the card that matches it. 
  13. “Let’s check to see if it’s right.” 
  14. Count the rod by placing your hand on each segment, left to right, until you count all the segments.  
  15. Ask the child to rest the card against the front of the last segment of the rod. 
  16. If the card does not match, see if the child notices and then ask him to find the card that matches.  
  17. Continue this process until all the rods are matched with cards.  
  18. Once done, clean up by placing the cards back in the box, they can be random but ten should be the first one in the box.  


Exercise 1, Child works Independently.

On the next day encourage the child to do it by himself, but let him know that he can come to you if he needs help. 

Exercise 2, Show the Card, Bring the Rod

Ask the child to get two rugs out and place them at a distance from each other. Place the cards randomly on one rug. Place the rods randomly on the other rug. While you are at the rug together, select a random card and place a marker on the card – such as a shell – and ask the child to find the rod that matches it. Once the child brings the rod to the rug with cards, ask the child to count it, then he should know to rest the card against the last segment of the rod. “I think you know what happens next.” 

Exercise 3, Show the rod, Bring the Card.

Same as exercise two but reverse the process by sitting at the rug with rods and ask the child to find the card that matches the rod. 

Exercise 4, Stair Formation. 

Lay the rods out at random and lay out the cards at the bottom of the same rug. Ask the child to put the rods in order, just like the red rods, but to leave space between each rod. “Remember, the red segment comes first.” Once they are in order, ask the child to find the card that goes with each rod. The child does not have to count every segment of the rods unless he wants to. When every card is matched with every rod, count the numbers, starting with one and ending with then. Then, go backwards, starting from ten and ending at one. 

Exercise 5, The building of 10. 

Place the cards in order at the bottom of the rug. Ask the child to set the rods in stair formation on the rug, leaving space between each rod.  “I want to show you something about the rods.” Start with ten, “This is 10” and then place the card. “This is 9” place the card. “What do I need to put with the 9 to make 10?” Slide the 1 rod into place aligned with the 9 rod. Rest the 1 card against the red rod. “9 and 1 make 10.” Repeat this process with 8 and 2. When you get to 5 act confused and say “I have a 5…” then casually pivot the 5 rod upwards and then to the right so that its end is aligned with the other rods. “Yes! Two 5’s make 10!” If the child thinks of bringing the red rod of the same size, he may, but only if the child mentions it. Then take them apart in reverse order. Starting with 5, then 6 and 4, and so on, 9 and 1 would come last. For example “If I take 1 away from 10, I get 9” while you return them to their order. 

Control of Error

Child’s counting and memory. 


To association symbol and quantity through the spoken word. 
Indirect preparation for addition, and with the 5 rod for multiplication. 
The deconstruction of 10 is an indirect preparation for subtraction.  


4 – 4 ½  


This material is a fixed quantity and thus can’t be taken apart.
We are giving a fleeting impression that combing rods (numbers) work the same way every time. 
This is the first time we officially introduce the symbol for 10. 
Fleeting impressions of operations.
Distance games provide new challenges.  

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