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Dr. Des Rainey
PhD (Western Reserve, Cleveland, Ohio),
MA (Victoria,



Doc. Rainey Ltd.

15A Coronation Rd


Auckland 0627

New Zealand.

Tel:+64 9 4198356
022 6327567



About Des Rainey Number-Family Teaching Methods
& the amazing Number-Stick (Fun-Abacus)

THE NUMBER FAMILY IDEA is easily understood from an example. Here several random 'strikes' have been  made with a 3-ball Number Stick.
They show various  members of 'Number Family 3 and children will read them as '2 and 1' (or '2 + 1 = 3), and so on..

all the members of a family can soon be learned through a variety of games and activities. It is ‘part-whole’ learning and will
have huge benefits for children as they proceed in mathematics.

CHILDREN DEVELOP A KNOWLEDGE DATABASE of inter-related number relationships (bonds) to 10 and then to 20 by systematically getting to know each number family.
They will be able to move around in it mentally, creatively. It will last them all their lives.

NUMBER-STICK USE K-3:  The Number Stick Fun Abacus™ is an extraordinarily versatile maths exploration tool and  toy.  Use it from K to 3 in different modes for
different purposes: The graphic to the right shows the '4 and 2' member of Number Family 6.

  • Pattern Mode enables children to create, describe and work with patterns based on colour and space.

  • Dice Mode provides a dice of any size from 1 to 20. Dice sizes of 3, 4 and 5 are particularly useful in earliest early numeracy as regards counting and number recognition.
    Dice sizes from 10 to 20 can be useful in Grades 2 and 3.

  • Visual Number Line Mode provides a line of up to 10 balls which act like digital switches, ‘off’’ when down and ‘on’ when up.
    The line extends to 20 or beyond by joining sticks and has Slavonic abacus features which help identify number
    patterns in relation to 5, 10, 15, 20… The pictured number line shows ‘3’. It is clear that it will take 7 more (5 and 2) to make 10.

  • Number Family Mode allows manual or random generation of Number Family patterns such that, for example, manipulation of a 5-ball Number Stick provides patterns of all
    members of Number Family 5 such as ‘1 and 4’, ‘3 and 2’, and ‘0 and 4’. Its use in a variety of games and activities can quickly and enjoyably lead to Number Family knowledge,

  • Comparison Mode facilitates the comparison of numbers.

  • Alternating Pattern Mode facilitates the understanding of multiplication and division. A graphic clearly shows
    'how many 2s in 10?'  and 'how many 3s in 10?'

  • Tables Mode provides a new way of learning basic multiplication facts. It is a peripheral Number Stick use
    but may have useful remedial applications.

  • Place Value possibilities come to mind when, for example, red, yellow and blue ten-ball sticks are joined together
    to make a simple computing device, where red balls are hundreds, yellows are tens, and blues are ones. 
    The resource material side of place value needs further thought and development.

  • Advanced uses relate to algebraic equations and to binary numeration. The graphic shows Windy Ridge students in a statistics activity.

 PURCHASE INFORMATION:  Click here for information on SCHOOL PACKS or for HOME PACKS.

SCHOOL USE extends mainly from K-2. The Early Numeracy Pack suits year 1 and 2 of primary school. There is also a Pre-School or Kindergarten pack.
It may be noted that the Number Stick may be used as an aid in MOST of the activities K-2 in the United States Core Curriculum.

To order click Parents or Teachers