What’s so special about the manipulatives used for the RightStart™ Mathematics program? Let’s run through the list.
NOT AVAILABLE ELSEWHERE:
AL Abacus: This abacus has 100 beads, is grouped in 5s and 10s using color. It is different from the Chinese abacus, the Japanese abacus, and “play” abacuses (where each string of beads is a different color). Both sides of the abacus are used in different ways. The AL Abacus is available in various colors, sizes, and materials.
Six Special Decks of Cards: Basic cards (0 to 10), multiplication cards, fraction cards, money cards, clock cards, and Corners™ cards make up the six decks.
Fraction Charts: One plastic fraction chart stays intact and a second chart is pre-cut to allow the child to manipulate the individual pieces. Very importantly, this chart includes the 1/7ths and 1/9ths. It is also one color so that the student doesn’t associate a specific fraction with a specific color and encourages the “mixing and matching” of fractions without the constraints of color.
Abacus Tiles: These tiles are a representation of the AL Abacus allowing for a child to see what more than one hundred beads would look like.
Geometry Panels: We make these ourselves!
Place Value Cards: Adaptation from Montessori’s decimal cards.
Goniometer (Angle Measurer): Although this is not an item we make, it is no longer produced and almost impossible to find elsewhere.
Drawing Set: These pieces can all be found individually elsewhere and we assemble this in our warehouse. Triangles don’t having inking edges and the T-square is transparent for ease of use.
Base-Ten Cards: These drawings represent ones, tens, hundreds, and thousands with the groupings of five to allow for quick recognition of quantities. Images align with the AL Abacus bead grouping. Other base ten cards, stamps, and/or blocks ignore the grouping in fives.
Yellow is the Sun CD: We make these ourselves, although you can download the song online and the music is in the back of the teacher’s manual.
SPECIFIC CHARACTERISTICS NEEDED AND MAY BE A CHALLENGE TO FIND ELSEWHERE:
Math Balance: Pegs for the balance are on both sides of the balance arm which allows for twice as many weights to be hung on a number making multiplication a breeze. Weights are also 10 grams which is used in RightStart™ Mathematics Second Edition (RS2).
Centimeter Cubes: Our centimeter cubes weigh one gram. This is an important aspect for RS2!
Geometry Solids: We have a set of 12 wooden shapes. In RS2, these specific shapes are important because they are measured and weighed, as well as identified. Different shapes and sizes will alter the lesson significantly.
4-in-1 Ruler: This ruler measures in centimeters, millimeters, and inches in sixteenths. What makes this ruler special is inches divided into tenths! When a calculation calls for 4.3 inches, the student can precisely measure and draw 4.3 inches, rather than approximating.
Colored 1” Square Tiles: We had a hard time finding tiles that were consistently one inch square. Sadly, there was a LOT of variance. We have these tiles made in the USA now and have the precision needed. Quantities are 50 in four different colors.
Geoboards: These come two to a set. Pegs need to be 7 x 7. Many geoboards are 5 x 5 which will not allow for enough space for the children to do their lesson work.
Casio Calculator SL-450: This child-friendly calculator has a quirk that allows for skip counting, so the SL-450 is needed.
Mini-Clock: This clock is geared, which means the hour hand will appropriately follow the minute hand. Hour hand is color coordinated to the hour numbers and the minute hand is color coordinated to the minute numbers.
Tangrams: Tangrams can be found in all sizes and colors. Many other tangrams have rounded corners making measuring a challenge. RightStart™ provides two sets with two different colors and have sharp and precise edges. Lessons in RS2 reference the two colors.
EASIER TO FIND ELSEWHERE:
Tally Sticks: These are craft sticks. If you have some around the house, that will work! You will need 55 sticks.
Plastic Coins: As long as you have 30 pennies, 20 nickels, 20 dimes, 20 quarters, and 4 half-dollars, you’re ready to go.
Folding Meter Stick: Any meter stick will work. Ours folds simply for convenience.
Geometry Reflector: This handy reflector creates for reflections. It is made of transparent material, so it can also been seen through for additional comparisons. A rectangular hand-held mirror will also the trick.
We’re all for saving money. I’m right in there with you all! If I can shave off a penny here and a dollar there, I’m a happy girl. So, let’s say you can find some of these manipulatives at a second hand store, discount store, or borrow from your friend. That’s fantastic.
But then you still need the rest of the items.
The RightStart™ Mathematics kits have a significant discount savings. So, unless you have an amazing treasure of manipulatives at your fingertips, it’s usually cheaper to buy the kits because of the healthy discounts incorporated into the kit pricing. Discounts on the Starter Kits range from $30.00 (SK-G) to $83.50 (RS2 Math Set) to $112.00 (RS1 Complete Kit).