Week 11 | Transformations with Cuisenaire Rods - Play Discover Learn 24/7

Week 11 | Transformations with Cuisenaire Rods


Students explore the general idea of transformation in the context of the missing rod structure.  


  • Small Group Set of Cuisenaire Rods
  • “Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses” By Kimberly and James Dean

  • Transformation Journal Page


Read “Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses” by Kimberly and James Dean

At the end of the story, begin with a discussion about looking at things differently.

How did putting on the magic sunglasses change Pete’s perspective?  His friends?
    Were the new things already there before they put on the sunglasses?
  Have you ever looked at something familiar and noticed something new about it?
   Today, we are going to put on magic sunglasses and look closely at our Cuisenaire rods and  notice new things that we may not have noticed before

You may pretend to put on sunglasses and even ask the students to pretend with you.   Then put up a Cuisenaire rod transformation on a felt or whiteboard.   A transformation is pictured below

cuisenaire rods missing rod transformation

Class Activity

Have the students observe the three trains.  

What is similar between the first train and the second train?  (They are the same length).  
What is different?  (First is just blue.  Second is three rods, yellow, white and light green).  
What is similar between the second and the third train?   (White rod and light green rod)  
What is different?   (The yellow rod.)  
What rod can we add to make the third train the same length as second train?   (Allow for trial and error but answer is yellow).    
Now what is different between the second train and the first train? (The order of the rods.)  

Math Journal Activity

The following journal page is provided for continuing exploration of transformations.  For more transformation activities, check Module 1 Task cards, worksheets and play mats.

pete the cat and his magic sunglasses activity