Using Unifix Cubes in Guided Math Groups

Posted on November 10, 2010. Filed under: Elementary math, Guided math, Manipulatives, Math Centers, virtual manipulatives | Tags: , , , , |

Unifix cubes are ubiquitous in U.S. classrooms.  They can be used for a variety of math concepts, including number sense, algebra, geometry, measurement and data and probability. The following activities can be done in small guided math groups.  Small guided math groups give you the opportunity to talk with the students and it gives them the opportunity to talk with you.  As teachers, we want to ask targeted questions and listen for the answers.  During the conversation we want the students to connect with each other and talk math.  We want them to use the manipulatives to prove, to represent, to justify and to explain their thinking.  Manipulatives should provide a springboard into deeper content conversations.


Unifix cubes can be used to explore equivalent names

They also make great manipulatives to use to tell addition and subtraction stories using different story mats. They also are great for just practicing basic facts. Here is a  counting video

Here is a counting assessment using unifix cubes

Also look on and look under lesson plans…type in unifix cube fact family template.

Have students to take cups and handfuls of unifix cubes and first estimate and then actually count the total

You can use them to illustrate even and odd numbers.

You can also use them to represent fractions.

Algebra: Patterns

Unifix cubes are great for sorting. Have cupfuls and bagfuls and have the children sort them by color.  Scroll down and look at Video 7

Unifix cubes can be used to explore patterns.  Jmeacham has great pattern mats already made. Remember to teach students how to make growing patterns as well.  Have students to copy, match, create, extend and name unifix patterns. (click on picture of unifix cubes)

You can also use them to represent comparison stories.


Have students explore area and perimeter with unifix cubes on inch grid paper.

(scroll down to picture about teaching area)


Have the students practice basic measurement activities with the cubes.  Also have the students to estimate how many cubes long something is before they actually measure it out.  They can explore length and height.


Have the students to grab cupfuls of unifix cubes and then to graph the contents. Have them to make frequency tables, tally graphs, pictographs as well as bar graphs.


Fill different containers with different amounts of different colors.  Then discuss the probability of choosing particular colors.  Also play games where someone pulls a certain amount of cubes from a bag, recording the colors and then based on that data guesses the probability of pulling out certain other colors.

Virtual Unifix Cubes
Just for fun:

A history of the Unifix Cube:

(An article with really great ideas)

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

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3 Responses to “Using Unifix Cubes in Guided Math Groups”

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Quite a beautiful website. I built mine and i was looking for some design ideas and you gave me a few. May i ask you whether you developed the website by youself?

Thank you

no it is the wordpress template

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