Addition - Play Discover Learn 24/7


The structure of addition is presented first as trains and then as mats.  I also add the variation of building paths to add another story element to the activity. 

Building Trains

The structure of Cuisenaire Rods that represents addition is putting rods end to end as pictured above.  In the first line, light green is place end to end with red with red also end to end with dark green.  We would read this as light green plus red plus dark green. 

See Introducing Trains for more lesson ideas. 

Building Mats

Building mats is a foundational number building activity.  Children will gain a strong understanding of how numbers relate to each other and intuitively pick up on the math structures that exist.  

This activity is part of the 5 days to More Playful Math email series, so if you haven't got it yet, sign up. 

The mats are designed to have the child immerse themselves into a story and make it their own engaging them to explore and exhaust discovery of all they ways you can build a number. 

Building Paths

Paths can take us on some exciting adventures, and for the child, this is especially true.  In PDL's Building Equation Paths for Cuisenaire Rods, children go on adventures building paths.

The play mats act as a constraint to explore a specific length while at the same time providing freedom to build that length as they choose.   There are endless opportunities for exploration and the 48 task cards act as a guide to deepen exploration into fractions, multiplication and subtraction. 


Build several train or path structures.   What learning opportunities do you notice?​