Manipulatives - What have you used with Singapore?

Posts: 37
Joined: Mon Dec 04, 2006 4:34 pm

Manipulatives - What have you used with Singapore?

Unread post by bethben »

What have you used with Singapore levels 1-2
kellieMI wrote:For those of you who use Singapore 1-2, which manipulatives do find work best? Thank you for your input.
For singapore 1, we used popsicle sticks. I rubber banded 10 together to show "10" and kept some "ones". It was easy for ds to see that 33 for example is 33 popsicle sticks -- 3 groups of 10 and 3 ones. It also helped for regrouping purposes.

For singapore 2a, I have found the "base 10" set works well.

Beth B.

Math Blocks?

Unread post by cbollin »

Posted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 5:41 am

There are lots of math blocks on the market.

The disadvantage/advantage of the ones that singaporemath dot com sells is that all of the blocks are the same color. Some people would say the "ones" or "units" should be different colors. Others will say "why?". (and the price too)

So, it isn't that Singapore doesn't use blocks or anything. In fact, there is a nice little chart on Singaporemath dot com under the manipulatives section that tells you all kinds of things that an interlocking base ten block set can be used in each book to teach many things (well, at least until you get to book 6A and 6B -- then it's not needed.) Linking off site - just come back here to purchase Singapore Math books if you decide to use them.

singapore manipulatives chart

Singapore manipulatives?

Unread post by cbollin »

sewardmom wrote:We made the switch to Singapore 3.

Jumping in at 3 - we have cuisinaire rods, but no 'number discs' or place value charts mentioned in the HIG. Do any of you use or not use these items? Are they necessary - or will we be Ok with just cuisinaire rods?
Posted: Sat May 03, 2008
Keeping in mind that I don’t use the HIG, I just keep it simple and use the pictures in the textbook to teach Singapore. Real coins (pocket change) and paper is working over here for out loud practice.

For a place value chart, I'll just use what is in the textbook (such as 3A page 8) as a guide. (think construction paper)

For number discs, I can use pennies for the 1’s and dimes for the 10s. If you have $1 coins use them for 100’s. Or could just make circles out of different colored construction paper and mark them with 1's, 10's 100's 1000's. Or if you have bingo chips around the house or other plastic color game piece.

Some ideas to have substantial things to move around:
It doesn’t HAVE to be circles, does it? (uh well not when teaching from just the Singapore text books)

How about Lego pieces. What about Duplo pieces? Colored Straws? Spoons, Dinner Forks, dessert forks, Knives?? How about candy pieces? How about coins and or tupperware lids? What about --- juice and milk lids and bottle caps? (ask your neighbors to keep milk lids for a couple of days)

Couldn’t you use an old file folder to have something stronger than paper?
Or look around your living room and see what you have that is in about 4 colors or so, or in 4 different kinds of shape/sizes but are related (like I mentioned with the spoons and things).

Oh yeah... there's the blocks Rfrom the first grade deluxe package. The Cuisenaire rods in K. the Lauri toys stuff, my preschoolers' Fisher Price people set. Not 4 colors but it's a start ---- the pieces from Connect Four. Crayons!!!!!! crayons would work, wouldn't they? Soup cans (ok... I went to the kitchen). Different flavors of boxed stuff (any stuff), etc.. etc... etc... rainbow colored Goldfish crackers! (thanks to my preschooler from bringing me some just now. )

But I just want to give anyone “permission” to use things in your house and not worry about it. Think outside the box a bit.

Or think inside the game box -- Monopoly Money!!!! That would work. And you have the little tray to use for place value if needed.

Posts: 37
Joined: Mon Dec 04, 2006 4:34 pm

Re: Singapore manipulatives?

Unread post by bethben »

Posted: Sat May 03, 2008 8:08 am
I would use poker chips in 3 different colors and mark them if I could actually find them at a store around here! The paper number discs we found to be very annoying- we just needed something more substanial to move around.
Posts: 38
Joined: Mon Apr 14, 2008 2:03 pm
Location: South, USA

What manipulatives if any do you use for math?

Unread post by hsmomof5 »

jasntas wrote:My ds is currently using Singapore math 2A and I really think he needs some form of manipulative so I was wondering what would be the best. We have some Cuisenaire Rods but we need a bigger set. I didn't know if I should add to what we have, if I should get Base Ten Blocks or something else. What would be the best to grow with? What would work best for now and the future?
We use the blocks, mini clocks and foam fraction pieces from Learning, popsicle sticks, kitchen measuring cups and pitchers, and anything else lying around the house.
ds 19 (college freshman), ds 12, ds 12, and ds 10 (ECC '08) (CTG '09), dd 3 (Preschool)

Re: What manipulatives if any do you use for math?

Unread post by TurnOurHearts »

My kids love the Math Sense blocks that MFW sold before the Cuisenaire rods ~ but they use them more like Legos.

Honestly? When we're doing math, I get out the beans. :) Maybe this year I'll be a 'cool' mom & use M&Ms like Dawn... LOL! My kids'll be BEGGING for math!! You really can use anything. Isn't that nice? :)

Re: What manipulatives if any do you use for math?

Unread post by cbollin »

* I like the c. rod set that is part of MFW Kindy deluxe items. One nice thing with those cuisenaire rods is that they are not the segmented kind, so you can easily use them in "bar diagrams" in Singapore in 3A and above.

* just about any kind of base ten blocks would work. and so would household objects. you can string beads just like the pictures show, or use craft sticks, or crackers.

* Other manipulatives that I've used for teaching Singapore Math (especially 2A and 2B with volume, capacity, measurement)-- an cheap kitchen scale that has both metric and US measurements on non digital read out. That way they learn to read the other way.

* I've used bags of rice and beans and cereal boxes and flour -- for anything to weigh and compare kg and g and oz and lb.

* a with a real minute and a real hour hand. and numbers :) I use a cheap cheap one from wally world.

* rulers that have both metric and US

* a yard stick that I extended by 3 inches to make it a "meter stick". I taped a 12 inch ruler to the back of the yard stick such that only 3 inches extended.

* We used plastic measuring cups. one side has metric the other has US stuff. we use gal. jugs and half gal etc. Save an occasional 2 liter or 1 liter drink bottle for use.

*string (we used string to measure stuff) – well, ok it was actually yarn from my daughter’s crochet stuff

I like to use whatever is around my house. I’ve used Crayons, flatware, pairs of socks, shoes, milk lids, wooden blocks, fisher price toys. Pieces of paper. A dry erase board and markers. soup cans. pretzels, boxes of food. etc. Anything that is in sight and in reach can be used!
TurnOurHearts wrote:My kids love the Math Sense blocks that MFW sold before the Cuisenaire rods ~
just for info.... (because people always wonder)
the reason that MFW (nor any retailer, not just MFW) does not sell those anymore is that they are no longer made.
Julie in MN
Posts: 2909
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Where to find a meter stick?

Unread post by Julie in MN »

TriciaMR wrote:We're about to embark on Singapore 3B, and we need to measure by meters. I know a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away I had a meter stick. I think it disappeared in our last move. So, I've been trying to find one. I've been to Walmart, the local teacher's store, and a Target. None of them have one. It was frustrating not to find one at a teacher supply store.

If anyone can recommend a store (and maybe even the department within the store), that would be great! We live in a major city, so you'd think it would be possible. Some nearby local choices are:
Home Depot
Hobby Lobby
We no longer have a Hancock Fabrics.

Of course, if all else fails, my dh will cut a stick 1 meter long, and we'll glue a sewing tape measure on, but I would like one with all the markings and such right to the edge.
We have a paper one from Ikea, free :)

I know Crystal used to tape a few more centimeters onto a yardstick ;)

My guess of those you mention would be Home Depot or another hardware store?

Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002+)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Feb 19, 2010 8:10 am

Re: Where to find a meter stick?

Unread post by zookeeperof3 »

I got mine from a paint store, you could call your local Sherwin William's etc.Mine was from ICI Paints.
Kimberely in NC with 2 little monkeys using ECC & Prek/K
Posts: 67
Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2008 4:55 pm
Location: United States

Re: Where to find a meter stick?

Unread post by KimberlyND »

I would call ahead and ask if they sell them. Then you wouldn't have to drive all over town.
Kimberly in ND
MFW user since 2007, gone through K, 1st, ADV, ECC, CtG, RtR, Exp. to 1850, & 1850 to Modern Times
Using ECC 2014-2015 with an 8th grade son and 4th grade daughter
Have been HS for 19 years and graduated 3 dc.
Posts: 149
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2007 12:50 pm

Re: Where to find a meter stick?

Unread post by my3boys »

We use a measuring tape. I got each of the kids their own and they use them a lot.
Mom to 3 busy boys ages 11, 8, and 6
finished K, First, ECC, and CtG - currently using RtR
Posts: 65
Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2009 1:30 pm

Re: Where to find a meter stick?

Unread post by sojen »

I am pretty sure Home Depot has them, but mine is from a fabric store. Not a chain, but one of those decorator fabric places. It was free.
Jen in GA
mom to dd 11, dd 8, and ds 5
traveling through the medieval world with RTR.
Slowly starting kindergarten with my little guy.
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 11:37 pm

How much to buy for Singapore? (Manips/guides)

Unread post by purepraisemom »

far above rubies wrote:I am all exited about getting back into Singapore next year. I remember teaching Singapore before and while my ds is very strong in math, my dd does struggle with mental math.

So I visited the Singapore website and saw that they have a list of suggested manipulatives as well as the teacher's guides. If you purchased or used these suggested items, did you find them helpful? The last time I used Singapore with the children, I used it with hands-on teaching activities and it made a huge difference in how they grasped the concepts.
The more manipulatives and games the better!

We really liked the computer games that go with Singapore. Rainbow Rock, Wiggle Woods and Vroot & Vroom.

We are currently loving the Games Kit from Right Start Math - it goes with any curriculum and has great results.

You can also use a regular deck of cards to play some of the games by taking out the face cards and using the jokers as zeros.
new to MFW 2011
homeschooling since 1999
far above rubies
Posts: 75
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2011 9:31 pm

Re: How much to buy for Singapore? (Manips/guides)

Unread post by far above rubies »

Yeah, that's kinda how I feel about manipulatives. I always struggled with math and it's amazing how much manipulatives helped me grasp concepts. But my cart is already up to $150. LOL I guess the good part is that if we stick with it, I have many more children coming up behind, who will also benefit from them. :)
K (2007-2008, 2011-2012), ADV (2010-2011), ECC (2011-2012)
2012-2013: CtG [dd (5th), ds (3rd), dd (1st), ds (3), and ds (1) ]
Posts: 60
Joined: Sat Aug 16, 2008 12:37 am
Location: Southeast Texas

Re: How much to buy for Singapore? (Manips/guides)

Unread post by beaglemamma2008 »

We're only in 2A right now, so I might not be the best source of info, but here are a couple of manipulatives I've found handy. :)

Base 10 blocks Learning Resources Plastic Base Ten Starter Kit (LER0930) by Learning Resources (blue)
These were great when teaching dd subtraction with regrouping. (For a homemade version, you could use bundles of craft sticks like in the K math, but I like that these go to 1000's.)

Unifix cubes Unifix Cubes; Assorted Colors; 100 Piece Set; no. DD-225 by Didax
[Editor's Note: MFW now carries this set on the 1st grade page]

Unifix trains Unifix Ten Frame Trains Set (Cubes Not Included); no. DD-22200 by Didax
These were handy when teaching her the "Singapore way" of making a 10 during addition. So, for example, if the problem was 8+5, one of her trains would have 8 blocks and the other would have 5. She could visually see that her 8 train needed 2 more to become a 10, so she would take 2 from the 5 train and add them to the 8. Then she could see that her new problem was 10+3. (For a homemade version, you could take two egg cartons and cut the last two egg compartments off of each of them so they have 10 compartments each. Then just use buttons instead of unifix cubes.)

I hope that wasn't terribly confusing! I'm very visual, so sometimes it's hard for me to operate without pictures! :~
Jennifer, mom to:
Hannah, 8. Finished and loved K, 1st, & Adventures. Currently loving ECC.
Millie, 5. Finished Pre-K and K "lite." Currently playing her way through K "for real."
Posts: 213
Joined: Tue Oct 05, 2010 1:37 am

Re: How much to buy for Singapore? (Manips/guides)

Unread post by asheslawson »

I use things around the house...but I found that in teaching Singapore there were a few manipulatives I wished I'd had (I taught 2A-2B this year). One was a metric ruler - only because NOTHING we had around the house had metric measurements on it. (I had plenty with centimeters - but nothing with a meter.) Another was a balance scale. I also really wanted the base 10 blocks - although you can use beans, paper clips, etc. I just wanted them so they could easily visualize the difference from 1's, 10's, 100's & 1,000's, with something that was very consistent. (But they aren't really a necessity - just a nicety!).

Just an FYI...I decided the home instructors guides might really help me teach better & purchased those along with the manipulatives I most wanted from They had some of the better prices I had found. I did get one other fun thing that wasn't too expensive. I purchased a group of connecting fraction rods. They had one solid rod & all the others were broken by 1/2, 1/3, 1/4, etc. What I liked best is if you spin the blocks, one side reads, for example, 1/12...then another reads 0.083...and the other reads 8.3%. They were called fraction tower equivalency cubes. Something that seemed like a fun way to visualize the parts of the whole... I bought a few other things that seemed like more work to try to improvise at home than not buying them was worth & I think I'm set through the rest of their elementary math years.

Also - if you just want units of 1... I found a great price of 50 connecting cubes for 1.25 per set. I found them @ I think they have a $10 minimum order but I found a few hard to find science & craft items I needed & didn't spend much. My daughter loves to play with them & for that price I bought 2 sets & she has 100 cubes. Don't know if this helps...there may be better prices out there but I didn't find them. These were two places I bookmarked for odd & end things I might need. Ashley
"So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him" Colossians 2:6
dd-28, ds-25, ds-24, ds-22, ds-14, dd-10, student 13, granddaughter 3
MFW K, 1st, ECC, CTG, RTR, EX1850, 1850-MOD
Posts: 986
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 11:43 am

Re: Question aboutnath

Unread post by TriciaMR »

Ohmomjacquie wrote:Just curious what math manipulatives you all use for singapore math? My daughter will be doing or B to start with. Thanks!
We've used Cuisinare Rods, Math-U-See blocks, Money (one of my kids can do addition better with money - he "sees" the tens with the dimes, and the fives with the nickles easier for some reason), beans, and Legos.

Trish - Wife to Phil, Mom to Toni(18), Charlie(14), and Trent(14)
2014-2015 - AHL, CTG
2015-2016 - WHL, RTR
2016-2017 - EXP1850, US1877
2017-2018 - DE, 1850MOD
2018-2019 - College, AHL
My blog