Cuisenaire Rods

Cuisenaire Rods

Description
Wooden blocks and rods have long been used to teach young children about numbers and basic arithmetic. These are such a tool. They vary in length from 1 cm. to 10 cm., representing the numbers from 1 to 10. All rods of a given length are the same color. They are stored in a cloth bag. This set was designed by Emile-Georges Cuisenaire (1891-1976), a Belgian schoolteacher. Cuisenaire published an account of his rods in French in 1953 and attracted the attention of the Egyptian-born educator Caleb Gattegno (1910-1988).
After the Soviet Union launched the Sputnik satellite in 1957, better instruction in science and mathematics became a national priority in the U.S. Scientists, mathematicians, and educators introduced objects like Cuisenaire rods to communicate to students their enthusiasm for basic principles.
This set was donated by Coralee Critchfield. Gilliland. She was born in 1932 in Nebraska and grew up in Tecumseh, Nebraska, a town of about 3,000 inhabitants. She received a B.A. from Lindenwood College in St. Charles, Missouri, and a M.A. in the History of Art from the University of Chicago.
Gilliland used the rods as an educator in Micronesia. She and her husband Thomas Gilliland first went there from 1957 to1959, where he had an administrative position with the Department of the Interior (then the governing authority in the area) in Majuro, Marshall Islands. She worked training elementary school teachers in the use of devices like Cuisenaire rods, and found that they were particularly suitable for teaching those whose primary language was not English. The Gillillands would return to Micronesia in the early 1960s, where Cory Gillilland served for a time as principal of the Truk high school. On her return to the United States, Gillilland became much involved in the Numismatics collections at the Smithsonian, publishing a monograph on stone money of Micronesia.
References:
Accession file.
Coralee C. Gillilland, The Stone Money of Yap: A Numismatic Survey. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1975.
Location
Currently not on view
date made
1965
date received
1987
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
cloth (bag material)
Measurements
overall: 1 cm x 14.5 cm x 21 cm; 3/8 in x 5 11/16 in x 8 1/4 in
ID Number
1987.0542.01
catalog number
1987.0542.01
accession number
1987.0542
Credit Line
Gift of Coralee C. Gillilland
subject
Mathematics
Education
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Learning Arithmetic
Science & Mathematics
Arithmetic Teaching
Sputnik
Data Source
National Museum of American History

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