How to use the Base 10 Blocks Program
  This program is pretty easy and intuitive to use. As you can see from the panel below, the colored blocks on the left are the manipulatives which can be clicked on to magically make new blocks. These blocks can then be dragged into the working area. There is no limit as to how many blocks you can make and move around. The three blocks used by this program are the standard blocks used in the physical version of the base 10 blocks.
Once the blocks are in the working area you can move them around by clicking on them and dragging the cursor to a new location. You will notice that the blocks can only be placed on a particular grid location (i.e. they snap into the grid). This is made to facilitate their arrangement and relative placement. 

To get rid of any of the blocks you simply move them right into the recycling bin on the lower left corner.

Here is a short description of the three blocks used in this program: 

This is the 1-block or unit block the smallest of all the blocks.
This is the 10-block corresponding to 10 units.  It is also referred to as a rod or long.
This is the 100-block and corresponds to 100 units. It is also called a flat.

Let's now describe all the other tools or icons on the left and top panels. These are used to change the action that you get from clicking at the mouse. Another way to describe this is to say that you change the mode of the program. The following table describes all the functions available: 

Icon Symbol   Description
Clicking on this straight arrow, which looks like a normal cursor, puts the program in normal mode which is the most common one. This is the mode where you can make, select, and drag blocks.
Clicking on this icon changes the mode to rotate mode. In this mode, clicking on any of the blocks within the working area, will rotate them by 90 degrees. Obviously, this will only have an effect on the blue 10-block which can be horizontal or vertical. You need to click on the straight arrow () to go back to normal mode.
This hammer is used to break any of the large pieces into the next size down. Select the hammer and click on a 100-block to break it into 10 10-blocks or click on a 10-block to break it into 10 1-blocks. Click on the straight arrow () to revert to normal mode.
The glue does the opposite of what the hammer does. If you align 10 1-blocks in a straight line or 10 10-blocks to form a perfect square, click on the glue and then on your arrangement of blocks and they'll be glued together to form the corresponding size up block. Click on the straight arrow () to revert to normal mode.
You can click on this nice lasso to group together any number of blocks. After clicking on the lasso, click on the working panel and draw a shape enclosing all of the blocks that you want to group together. Once grouped together they can be moved to a new location. The group can be moved again and again as long as it is selected. To unselect the group you can click again on the lasso, the straight arrow, or anywhere outside the group. You can move a whole group into the recycling bin to recycle all of the selected blocks!
If you want to find out the name and a few details on the different blocks and icons, you click on this icon and then on the block (or icon) that you are interested in. Again, click on the straight arrow () to go back to normal mode.
You click on the broom to clear, all at once, all the blocks from the working area. Rest assured that they also get recycled, just like that individual ones that you can recycle yourself.
This icon allows you to switch the backdrop or background in the working area without disturbing the blocks already there. Each of the backdrops provided is used for different exercises. Check the complete list of available backdrops.
This is where you can drop any blocks that you don't need any more. You can recycle them one at the time or as groups when they are lassoed together.

This table shows the complete list of backdrops available with this program and it includes the operations where it makes sense to use each of them:

Backdrop name
Backdrop uses
Default grid This can be used for general work and division using the measurement method.
Place value [100, 10, 1] This backdrop is used to work on place value concepts as well as additions and subtractions.
Place value [1, 0.1, 0.01] This can be used when working with decimal numbers to work on place value concepts as well as additions and subtractions.
XY axis This backdrop is mainly used for multiplications and divisions. This is also the backdrop that one would use for algebra.

Another function that needs to be described is the hidden command to count all of the blocks inside the working area. A control-C on a PC (that is, hold down the control key while you press the C character) or an Apple-C on a Mac (that is, hold down the apple key while you press the C character) will count, add up, and report all of the blocks in the working area.

One of the features of this program is that if one completely covers any of the blocks with a larger block an X will be drawn in its place. This is done to make sure that blocks don't get lost. From here you can now go to any of the following pages:

Go to Program Description
and Lesson Plan
Start Base 10 Blocks Program