Base 10 Blocks on a Grid

Base 10 Blocks (B10B) are helpful in modeling place value because a Ten rod is self-evidently equal to 10 Ones.  This is an improvement over bundling straws, say, where you only know a bundle of 10 by counting them.  A Ten rod, on the other hand, is another, greater unit.


There are two common ways of visually organizing counting past 10 with B10B:  a number line and a grid.  Both have advantages and limitations.  I like number lines because they depict relative size, or magnitude, and this is what number sense is all about at this age.  Grids, however, show number patterns horizontally, vertically, and diagonally very clearly.

Here’s a PDF file with a numbered and an unnumbered grid  on each side.  Be sure to print a test page and measure the images.  Different printers and software can alter the size of images slightly.

Downloadable number lines are available on the previous post about Centimeter Number Lines.

Having both grids and number lines is useful so students can transfer Base 10 Blocks from one to the other and see the same numbers in different modes.  It’s helpful with place value, addition, and subtraction.

Download 10-cm Grids