Why I Love Linking Cubes

In my six years teaching, I have learned to love using manipulatives in math.  They just make my job easier.  They bring abstract concepts to life for young learners.  In those years, I have taught all of the primary grades and have tried many different math manipulatives.  In my experience, I have chosen two favorites: base ten blocks and linking cubes.  I have chosen these two favorites for two reasons: the difficulty I would have in reproducing them and the nearly endless uses for them over several years.

This post is about linking cubes!

I really like linking cubes.  This math manipulative is fun and very useful.  I thought I would post a list of various skills that I have used them to teach in my classroom.  (Full descriptions will be in subsequent posts.  I am supposed to be doing research right now.)

I love these little things for so many reasons--linking cubes, not unifix cubes.

First of all, kids love them, they make complex designs with them and build things.  That is probably the only reason that I prefer them to unifix cubes.  The rest of this can generally be done with unifix or linking cubes.

Beginning place value--tens and ones.
Regrouping for addition and subtraction
Counters for addition and subtraction 
Making various patterns
Visually comparing numbers
Markers in Bingo games
Sorting by color
Introducing the link between quantity and numerical symbols
Phonemic awareness games
And probably so much more!

If you have any uses that I didn't list, feel free to add them in the comments!  These little buggers are so stinking useful that I went and bought some!  Love love love them!

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