In Addition and Subtraction, Classroom Resources, Number and Algebra

Before students can combine or separate collections, it is important that students ‘trust the count’ and have a good understanding of the relationship between numbers. Using Cuisenaire rods requires students to trust the count. Exploring this resource can help students to represent numbers in a variety of ways and prove that their solution is correct.


  • Use materials to represent different numbers
  • Partition numbers to show different facts, e.g. 2 and 3 makes 5
  • Explain how different numbers can be partitioned
  • Combine collections and identify the total
  • Compare the size of collections and identify the difference
  • Use symbols to represent known facts


Curriculum Connections
NSW Syllabus Mathematics K-10 – Stage 1: Addition and Subtraction 1
  • Represent and solve simple addition and subtraction problems using a range of strategies, including counting on, partitioning and rearranging parts (ACMNA015)


At the end of this lesson students should be able to answer the following questions
  • What do the different rods represent? How can you prove this?
  • How many different ways can you show the number 5?
  • How can you prove that you are correct?
  • Can you use symbols to record these different representations?
  • Can you combine collections and find the total?
  • Can you compare collections and find the difference?
  • How can you use symbols to represent what you have discovered?


For more information, please download the attached lesson plan.

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