On Denise Gaskins’ excellent site *Let’s Play Math*, I came across a mention of a “Super Rod,” in response to a question about how we would visually portray the number 10,000.

It’s clumsy to draw if you’re going to be consistent in the way you draw the different pieces. But it’s do-able in blocks.

This box is from Uline, Model #S-4511. It’s 4” by 4” by 40”, or almost exactly 10 cm by 10 cm by 1 meter. I taped the ends, spray-painted it, then measured out the 10-cm intervals on the edges and drew the lines in permanent marker.

By the way, if you teach 4^{th}, 5^{th}, or 6^{th} grade and use Base 10 Blocks to represent decimals, as I do, this comes in handy. Since the 5^{th} grade standards require decimals to thousandths, the 1 cm unit cube is .001, the 10 Rod .01, the 100 Flat .1, and the 1000 cube is 1. So this Super Rod becomes the number 10. I’ve made several of these and do in fact use them.

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