Base 10 blocks & other math manipulatives have started making inroads in math education, but 30 years later base 10 blocks are still woefully under utilized for teaching very much more than addition, subtraction and place value. Lately, the term multisensory math seems to be en vogue.
I spend a lot of time showing you how to use base 10 manipulatives, this page shows a couple examples of square roots but the entire website shows you how to do much, much more. Please. Poke around.
Base 10 Blocks are great for teaching algebra, and because algebra is generic math, it is great for teaching other basic operations too. I use algebra right away even with very young students to start teaching math concepts instead of hammering them with math facts they need to memorize. In module one you'll see that right after games and activities is algebra.
The best part about base 10 blocks is they show any student what the symbols mean...they can literally get their hands on a concept and this makes it much easier for them to wrap their minds around the mathematics.
You always start in the concrete, that is the base 10 blocks when teaching a subject like math to little kids. Using math terms like "lowest common denominator" just serve to confuse the situation when teaching fractions to little kids who may make up a meaning for that term in their minds that has precious little to do with making fractions the same before we count them. (My fractions page is a bit of an embarrassment at the moment.)
Remember: no concept is beyond the grasp of a child if it is presented at the child's level.
"Same" is easy to grasp and show using manipulatives while "lowest common denominator" is not as easy for a 5 or 6 year old to understand...not that they can't and you want to increase their understanding of this concept and the name for it as time passes. Might not be best to start with it. Maybe after a few lessons of making same THEN the name for making the denominators alike can be introduced.
Part of understanding and base 10 blocks and how to use manipulatives is understanding where they came from and how they were developed.
Check out these pages, especially if you are new to the concept of using manipulatives for teaching mathematics. Crewton Ramone's No Mystery Theatre should be informative and entertaining for you. Best of all the videos are free. I have over 950 videos on YouTube.
Same with square roots and radicals...making a square and counting one side is easy to understand and see when you have base 10 blocks...not so easy when all you get is symbols.
Taking the next step from making squares to finding square roots, to expressing numbers as radicals is not only easy but natural and greatly simplified with manipulatives. These blocks make math concepts child's play.
Absolutely you can. The question often arises with home schoolers, especially home school moms, "how do I teach my kid algebra when I didn't understand it myself and still don't get it?" Fair question.
The answer at Crewton Ramone's House Of Math is: you learn it right along with them and start them early. I teach you and then you teach them. Often they will help teach you...lol. You have a lot more experience with math than your 5 year old, you will pick it up quickly BUT often the little kids get it faster than their parents and will explain it to you in terms you understand. Put your child in a math rich environment and they will learn math. Here is a four year old playing math.
If your child is in high school, it doesn't matter you can still learn together using the videos and webpages and blog I have created. Check out all the testimonials. Spend some time on the Users Page. This isn't some new fly-by-night experimental system.
Watch this video, I get students like this all the time. If you start them early you can avoid a lifetime of problems. This child is 16. If you start with your children early they will never encounter these kinds of Issues with mathematics. I remind you that these people paid $50.00 for this lesson. You don't see the student but you can certainly hear that he was "blown away."
Introductory tutoring lesson:
When it comes right down to it, it doesn't matter what blocks you use only that you use them well. Some blocks or more efficient than others.
Here is a mom who claims she is "just a mom" with a high school education doing a very fine job teaching her kids math using somewhat inferior and cheaper base ten blocks called Cuisenaire Rods. I made a few comments on her videos, and will make more as time permits. Her idea is that you can use what you have to teach math and I think part of the reason she makes her vids is to show you that you CAN teach your kids math (I wholeheartedly agree)...so stop making excuses and get started. If you think you can't afford Mortensen Math blocks and you already have Cuisenaire Rods then use those. Eventually you will figure out you can't afford NOT to use Mortensen Math blocks. But I'm biased.
Sounds great, but what do I do?
This was always the gripe with people in the 90's when all we had was a few VHS tapes: they needed more training and didn't know what to do and didn't know how to get started. The point of this endeavor is to remove your excuses and get you teaching your kids math. JUST GET STARTED.
Where? Anywhere. What do you do first? Whatever you want...just as long as they can count to nine recognize a rectangle and tell if something is same or different. If they can't count to nine I have pages for that too...base 10 blocks make it easy and fun. Did I mention when you use base ten blocks you automatically add an element of fun into the lesson? You do.
If that isn't satisfactory for you, I have rearranged this website into modules. The modules require passwords. Please feel free to deviate from the order I present them in.
If you are looking for base 10 blocks you can get them here and with me you get a passporrt which gains you access to MANY hours of vids and lots of PDF's to help you make the best use of your blocks. There are nows hundreds of hours of videos and reading for you to go through that are ABSOLUTELY FREE. Not free if you give your email and phone number, not free with a purchase but just plain FREE.
When you go through a lot of that THEN you might want to get a passport. There is even more stuff behind the pay walls. This website is designed to give you YEARS of content for your homeschool. You aren't going to get through it in a weekend or a summer. You can also use it to help you explain specific topics.
Here is a book I wrote that introduces several concepts to young children you can down load it with your password. Stuff gets added to the password protected pages all the time and I am told it takes a few Months to get through it all if you spend a lot of time at it. Binge watching is not recommended. A little bit each week. This is the recommended way and I highly recommend you have your blocks out and play along as you watch videos. Just watching won't cut it: you need to be hands on.
I can't stress this enough. (Even though I bolded it and put it in red.) Over the years and through my travels I found that having your hands on the base 10 blocks made all the difference between a crowd that 100% got it from grandma to the kids and a crowd that didn't. If they got it I made sales if they didn't get it I didn't make sales. So this understanding was purely pragmatic.
If you think that you can learn math without DOING math: you're going to have a very bad time (VBT). Just watching the vids isn't enough.
Here is my Youtube channel. Subscribe. You will be notified when I put new Public videos up.
Go home from Base Ten Blocks Best Use.