To make x and x2 to go with the blocks above print all on cardstock and then turn the 10’s and 100’s over and color the backs of the 10’s blue and the 100’s red – do this before cutting them out.

Positive and Negative Integer Flashcards [-100,+100] – $3

Positive Coefficient Quadratic Polynomial Flash Cards – Free

Positive Coefficient Quadratic Polynomial Bump Game – $1

Positive and Negative Coefficient Quadratic Polynomial Flash Cards – $3


  1. What a wonderful resource, Anna. I have just discovered these blocks and ideas and am so impressed. I find that I use manipulatives and creative teaching when kids are young but older kids do less and less just when they hit fractions, division etc and I see their understanding drop off. Hoping this might help. Where is there info. about how to use negative quadratic cards as my oldest is in algebra and loves the positive ones.
    Secondly, are levelled books and manuals enough for a full curriculum? I don’t really have time to watch lots of videos etc. Is there a support group and does anyone use it as a stand alone? How independent is it? For example, how much teacher time per week? Thanks so much. Shona

    1. Thank you Shona.

      I agree that manipulatives get used less and less as kids get older, which is sad because they are such a useful tool to promote understanding of both lower and higher math concepts.

      The wonderful thing about the Mortensen Math program is that it uses a hands on visual approach all the way through even when introducing and teaching the higher math concepts.

      It is nice to hear your oldest is enjoying working with the positive quadratic cards. Is the work being done with blocks, drawings, symbols, or all three?

      You could book a session with me to learn how to work with the negative quadratic cards or alternatively you could buy a password to Crewton Ramone’s House of Math site to access his advanced algebra page and videos.

      The Mortensen Math program is a comprehensive gateway program to the higher maths.

      To find out exactly what the levelled books and manuals cover and where they leave off you can reference the scope and sequence and the reference guide

      There is a base ten support group on Facebook. Recently there has been a big interest taken in Caleb Gattegno and cuisenaire rods on it so you would have to scroll down to about a year and a half ago to see much of the Mortensen Math posts on it. That being said it is a wonderful group of people who have a lot of great ideas to share.

      I believe that Jerry Mortensen meant for the program to be teacher or parent lead thus what he meant by directed discovery.

      You could explore the books and manuals yourself first to discover the concepts making sure to get your hands on the blocks as you go.

      After getting started you could cover a concept once or twice a week with your child and then let them do the work in the books that correspond to the concept taught making sure they get their hands on the blocks along the way.

      They can also explore and discover by playing independently with the blocks.

      It would not be in their best interest to throw the books and manuals at them and expect them to understand the concepts all on their own.

      The more a parent puts into helping their child with their math education the more they will get out of it.

  2. Thanks so much for your comprehensive answer. I appreciate your time. My 13 year old is on his second day building positive quadratic equations. So lovely to see his enthusiasm. He builds them with my DIY blocks (super glued centicubes) which are certainly not ideal but we are in Australia so it may take months before we see blocks. He then draws them and writes factors. Today I asked him if he could see patterns. We are very limited in number of blocks but also couldn’t resist getting his 8 year old sister into making square numbers – perfect as she is just being introduced to long multiplication. Tomorrow, she is going to look for patterns in their sums. I am going to try and make a temporary basic ops kit from plastic canvas mesh used for tapestry so i can trial this material also for division with 10 year old.

    1. You are very welcome Shona. It makes me happy to hear that your son is enjoying it. Mortensen Math really does make it FUN and EZ.

      Once your daughter has built square numbers it will be easy for her to take square roots of numbers since “the square root sign tells you to build the number under it into a square and count one side” – EZ PZ!

      I had an order for a fraction set to Australia and it took just a few weeks to get there – it is shipped from the USA. The unfortunate part is the cost of shipping is on top of the cost of the materials themselves. It’s the same for me here in Canada.

      I love that you are being creative with what you have. Have you seen this site? This is what comes to mind when you talk about making the basic ops.

      When I was first learning about Mortensen Math I crazy glued centimeter cubes together for my students to use. I remember they’d drop and we’d have to glue them back together again.

      I am glad to see you joined the base ten support group I mentioned as there are some very passionate people in it. Don’t forget to check out the file section as there are some nice freebies in there including some templates for paper blocks that you might find useful.

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