Cuisenaire Rods

Original Cuisenaire rodsCuisenaire Rods
made in Australia c 1970s

If you went to school in the 70s – chances are you learnt Base 10 mathematics with Cuisenaire. I know I did. Although I remember making structures out of the timber rods- houses and buildings- more than actually learning anything mathematical.

Cuisenaire rods were devised in the 1920s by the wife of George Cuisenaire- a Belgian educator. Ms Cuisenaire’s name is not recorded- as George did all the marketing. And then it took another fifty years before the Cuisenaire rods were sold to schools across the world : instantly recognisable in the grey plastic box with raised yellow writing, and inside – the colour coded timber pieces [one=white, two=red, three=light green, four=crimson…]  I thought it was weird that black=seven. I thought that should have been 10- since 1 was white. But perhaps I was being too binary. But no- I still think that’s weird. Oh- those crazy Belgians!

Rescued from a school which is now a development site, this Cuisenaire set bears all the hallmarks of having been used and abused by a generation of school children. I bet half of them made structures out of them instead of learning maths…

This set is for sale: $AUD40

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