RightStart™ Manipulatives

What’s so special about the manipulatives used for the RightStart™ Mathematics program? Let’s run through the list.


AL AbacusThis 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.

Six Special Decks of CardsBasic cards (0 to 10), multiplication cards, fraction cards, money cards, clock cards, and Corners™ cards make up the six decks.

Fraction ChartsOne 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 TilesThese tiles are a representation of the AL Abacus allowing for a child to see what more than one hundred beads would look like.

Geometry PanelsWe make these ourselves. Kids love these!

Place Value CardsAdaptation 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 SetThese 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 CardsThese 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 CDWe make these ourselves, although you can download the song online and the music is in the back of the teacher’s manual.


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 CubesOur 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 RulerThis 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-450s: This child-friendly calculator has a quirk that allows for skip counting, so the SL-450s is needed.

Mini-Clock: This clock is geared, which means the hour hand will appropriately follow the minute hand.

TangramsTangrams 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.


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 StickAny meter stick will work. Ours folds simply for convenience.

Geometry ReflectorThis 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™ Math Set has 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. Don’t forget to check out the Super Saver Math Set too!


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