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What are Multibase Arithmetic Blocks?

aka MAB 101

MAB - Large cube = 1000 MAB - Flat = 100 MAB - Long = 10 MAB - small cube = 1 or unit
Large cube Flat Long Small cube

Multibase Arithmetic Blocks (MAB) help to promote an understanding of the number system. They are wooden or plastic blocks used to give a concrete representation of numbers, emphasising the place value aspect.

The most commonly used blocks are called base ten blocks and consist of:

      small cubes - representing ones or units

      longs - 10 small cubes placed end-to-end

      flats - formed using 100 small cubes.

      large cubes - formed from 1000 small cubes or 100 longs or 10 flats.

Note: There are sets of blocks based on other place value systems, hence the name Multibase Arithmetic Blocks.

MAB can be used to represent numbers as follows:

138 can be shown as:

MAB - Hundreds - Flats - 100 MAB - Tens - Longs - 30 MAB - Ones - Units - 8

The MAB are also used for numerous trading games which help develop an understanding of place value.

These games involve regrouping and trading the materials.

For example:
MAB - 14 units or 14 ones may be regrouped as MAB - 1 ten or flat and 4 units or ones
14 units or
14 ones
  1 ten or flat and
4 ones or units
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