# Disadvantages of base ten blocks

## Virtual ten frames

I sat in my 5th grade classroom more than 20 years ago—-TWENTY YEARS—-as someone carried in a *huge* box of orange, wooden base 10 blocks. My fifth-grade teacher had been awarded a grant, and we were given free math materials! It’s a lot of fun and a lot of excitement!
The issue was that my first graders were using the base 10 blocks for anything but math.
My kids were ecstatic to get their hands on those shiny blue base 10 blocks and use the ten rods to represent the friend who was the focus of their math mystery, or even worse…used a ten rod to represent one of something, a tally mark, the number one…
And, yes, during Math Wall, I spent a good 5-10 minutes per day working on breaking numbers down into tens and ones using interactive base 10 blocks.
They also understood how many rods and cubes to use to build 2 and 3 digit numbers.
We spent the majority of last year’s math leadership class discussing our base 10 framework and how critical it is for kids to recognize base 10 in order to effectively add, subtract, multiply, and divide.

## Minecraft: are gold tools faster than diamond!?

Place value, number principles, procedures, calculation, and much more can all be learned using Base Ten Blocks! They assist students in visually representing what they’re studying so that they can gain a better understanding of each concept’s context. Students ease into the idea of regrouping or exchanging by creating number combinations with Base Ten Blocks, and they can see the logical progression of each process. NOW AVAILABLESKILLS
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Learn Everything There Is To Know About Base Ten Blocks
Our base ten number system is expressed spatially in Base Ten Lines. Units are the smallest blocks, which are cubes measuring 1 cm on either side. Rods are broad, narrow blocks that measure 1 cm by 1 cm by 10 cm. Flats are one-centimeter-square blocks that measure one-centimeter-square-meter-square-meter-meter-meter-meter-meter-meter-meter-meter-meter-meter-meter- Cubes are the largest available blocks, measuring 10 cm on each side. We typically use the unit to represent ones, the rod to represent tens, the flat to represent hundreds, and the cube to represent thousands when dealing with base ten place value interactions. The pieces may be renamed if appropriate since the names are based on the form rather than the value. When learning decimals, for example, a class will use the flat to represent a unit and then determine the value of the remaining pieces from there.

### Subtraction using dienes

Justin Burris (a Texas math coach and University of Houston visiting professor) reports on a review of third graders’ mathematical reasoning about position worth in the Investigations curriculum in this article in Teaching Children Mathematics. Virtual base-ten blocks (part of the enVision software program) were used by some students, while actual base-ten blocks were used by others. The researchers wanted to see how well each group of students could write numbers, comprehend quantities, and say numbers out loud.
Students were effective in constructing a number – for example, 873 – using both virtual and real base-ten blocks by picking and counting out eight hundreds, seven tens, and three units blocks, arranging them in order from left to right, writing the number in expanded form (800 + 70 + 3), and saying the correct number. Burris says that the virtual models had the same level of support and interaction as the concrete base-ten blocks.
Students using virtual base-ten blocks performed marginally better than students using real base-ten blocks when subtracting with regrouping (for example, 62 – 27). They used the “hammer” and “glue” tools and counter to split tens into unit blocks, construct nonstandard numbers, imagine new groupings of numbers, and keep track of total value.

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Base ten blocks are a mathematical manipulative used by students to learn basic mathematical concepts such as addition, subtraction, number meaning, place value, and counting. They are also known as multibase arithmetic blocks (MAB) or Dienes blocks (after the mathematician and educationalist Zoltán Pál Dienes who encouraged their use). The student will use the blocks to express numbers and patterns in a variety of ways. The three-dimensional blocks are usually made of a solid material such as plastic or wood and are available in four sizes to represent their individual place value: Units (one place), Longs (ten places), Flats (hundred places), and Blocks (thousand places). 1st Computer programs that simulate base ten blocks are also available.
Base ten blocks are commonly used in elementary school mathematics lessons, especially when dealing with topics that students struggle with, such as multiplication. Teachers often use them in the classroom to model concepts, and students use them to strengthen their own understanding of those concepts. Physically manipulating objects is an important technique for learning basic mathematic concepts, particularly at the beginning of a child’s cognitive growth. Studies have shown that, like most mathematical manipulatives, their usage declines as students progress through the grades. [two]   