[Squeakland] Is our fondness for Cuisenaire Rods just nostalgia?

David Corking lists at dcorking.com
Wed Oct 3 05:20:24 PDT 2007

Something that Alan Kay posted to the list made me wonder if rods have
gone out of fashion in some countries.

I did some reading around and found other people saying the same thing.

Then I started to wonder if the desire of some of us to see the next
generation taught with these lovely tactile tools was merely the
nostalgia of an older generation for our schooldays.   We can't have
been that much more fluent in 'mathland' than the current generation,
can we?

This article reinforced my nostalgia hypothesis:


See the phrase "According to the company that sells them, their customers are
people like myself, on whom they made a lasting impression, or
grandparents whose children used them successfully in the 60s
and 70s. "

But this one made me wonder why my class 'grew out' of rods sometime
in the second grade:


How strong is the research that says that they work?

I read that there is a plan to bring rods to Etoys, but I can't find
that plan, and I saw that another firm has created rod software first.


Should OLPC be distributing teacher instruction cards, or pupil
activity guides based on rods, and encouraging local artisans to cut
and paint real physical rods (and baseboards, frames and boxes)?   Or
even simulated Etoys rod objects?

If there is still an Etoys rods project, please point me towards it.


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