Why Gattegno? - Play Discover Learn 24/7

Why Gattegno?

Caleb Gattegno's methods are in essence guided discovery, but why Gattegno?


Gattegno's textbooks are available for free (see resource section above), and while they don't really cover time and measurement, they adequately cover everything else.   ​

Algebra before Arithmetic

Gattegno believed in the importance of children noticing and understanding math structures before arithmetic.  When a child understands math structures, they are better able to make better predictions making them better problem solvers. 


When children build trains with rods, they will notice that two rods end to end equals a rod that is longer than those two rod individually.  This is a math structure.  

When given numbers, children understanding this structure will be able to predict that 1 plus 2 will give them a number larger than 1 and 2.   

Magic is in the Method

Gattegno used two tools mainly to provide discovery opportunities in math, Cuisenaire rods and the Geoboard.  ​ The magic though is in the methods and not the tools.   Today, there are many more tools by which we can apply the same methods.   


Today, I want you to pull out the Cuisenaire rods, and begin building.  What structures do you notice?