design feature, the Digi-Block system ensures that there are always exactly 10blocks inside a larger block.Now that the children have created a larger block, ask them how many smallblocks are inside it. Make sure that children have many opportunities to countthe number of single blocks inside, convincing themselves that the answer isalways the same: 10. For many children, this idea may need to be confirmedrepeatedly, over time. Tell the children, or elicit from them, that a good namefor the larger block is block-of-10.It is best, at least initially, to call this item a
rather than a
. The preferred term emphasizes two important ideas: (1) that this object isone block, and (2) at the same time, it is made up of 10 ones. Also, refer tothe holders as simply that,
. They hold ones, but they become a block-of-10 when closed. With this duality, to call them either
would be confusing. The single blocks may be referred to as
whichever you prefer.
Making Successively Larger Blocks
Just as children discovered that they could make a block-of-10, they now usethe blocks to construct a block-of-100 and a block-of-1000. Give each childsome blocks-of-10 and some larger holders. Ask,
How can you make a larger block using these blocks and holders?
Children will naturally mimic the way in which they packed single blocksto make a block-of-10. That is, they place blocks in the holder in an uprightposition. When the holder is full, they place another holder on top as a cover.As with the blocks-of-10, if the holder isn’t full, the cover slides off or theblock falls apart, signaling that the block is not complete. Ask,
How many blocks-of-10 are there in one of these larger blocks?
Encourage the children to remove the cover to count. Children will need todo this repeatedly, over time, before they realize that the answer is always thesame: 10.A few children may know that 10 tens is equal to 100, but many will not. Encourage the children to unpack the blocks-of-100 to blocks-of-10. At thatpoint, they can either remove the covers and count the single blocks inside,or unpack the blocks-of-10 as well and then count the single blocks. Oncethey confirm that there are 100 ones, identify the block as a block-of-100.Also give children the opportunity to make a block-of-100 from a collectionof single blocks. They should continue to explore the relationships amongsingle blocks, blocks-of-10, and blocks-of-100 throughout the unit.