Here are the main characters in the Single User Foundation Kit of Numicon.
The Board. It is a 10x10 grid. It’s sort of like a Duplo Baseplate.
The Shapes, which I call tiles. These are sturdy plastic pieces, pleasing to touch. (I love the sensible packaging the materials come in also. Everything is very user friendly and of high quality.)
The Pegs. I don’t remember how many came with the set—we counted them once, and there were about 80. I wish there were 100, so we could fill the Board. The pegs are great for fine motor work, and they fit on little fingers even better than black olives! They can be used for patterns, representing shapes (in the picture I have them arranged in a 6-shape), and all kinds of building fun (which is later used for multiplication, I think).
This is a 5-shape, filled with 3 green pegs, and 2 yellow pegs, symbolizing 3+2=5
The Cards. These are very nice, laminated and sturdy, and explain how to use the materials. There are 12 cards with 3-5 activities per card, plus additional challenging activities to help the student connect what they are doing with Numicon to relevant activities in real life.
The Book. I read this a long time ago, and need to refresh my memory before I tell you anything more about it. I remember it being easy to read, but then, I have been teaching for 16 years, so I’m sort of used to reading stuff like it. I don’t know how easy it would be to digest for a novice parent/teacher…I imagine it would be fine.
There are some other fun things, like the Board Overlays, Spinners and the Feely Bag. Since I bought both the Foundation and the Kit One, Plus Pack, and some extra things, I’m not sure which items belong to which set. But, that’s irrelevant since Numicon has repackaged and renamed their kits, so you wouldn’t necessarily have the same exact items that I have. Numicon has also added the “Closing the Gap” kit, which looks interesting for elementary aged children. The advantage to Closing the Gap is that the book/instructions do not have photos of children, so older children will not think they are working on "preschool" stuff.
These overlays include pictures, patterns and combinations of tiles (all possible ways of creating seven). They lay directly on top of the board, and turn it into a sort of puzzle.
If you turned this overlay over (that sounds weird!), the same pattern would be on the back, but it would be in gray, so the student would need to recognize the quantity (1's and 2's) instead of color matching (orange and light blue). I put some tiles on the 3, 4 and 5 spots so you could see how they look on the board.
The Spinners! I love these. In the Kit 1 book there are templates to photocopy and cut out, so the spinners can change from numerals to numicon shapes, to addition or subtraction and so on. In this example, Hannah was working on subtraction. She spun a 10-shape (the right-hand spinner) and a 3 (left-hand spinner). She had to then, in her head, figure out what was left over, if she "chopped 3 off of a 10-shape". She picked up a pink 7 tile. She used to do this by physically holding the 10-shape and covering three of the holes to visualize what was left. With enough practice, she can now do it with fewer manipulatives.
I already had Cuisenaire Rods, which we use with Numicon as well. I think they call them "Number Rods". You can easily get these in the USA, so don't buy them from Numicon (in fact, they told me that over the phone, to save me $$ on cost and shipping). We didn't have the trays for the rods, so I did buy them from Numicon.
Hannah is filling the trays. The tray that holds the 8 rods (8 cm long) can hold eight 8-rods, the 7-tray can hold seven of the 7 cm rods, etc.
I will post more on HOW we use the materials, hopefully over the weekend. It's supposed to be a cooler weekend, and we don't have much to do other than finish college applications for Chris. I'll be ready to take a break from finishing his transcript to come play on blogger!