Teachers of Montessori have many different sets of manipulative objects that help children understand abstract concepts by handling tangible objects. Children use their five senses to comprehend the world around them. Each month at Joyous Montessori we send out a calendar showcasing which Montessori materials we are using for that month’s curriculum. Here are some examples of the materials we will be using for September, with links to videos that demonstrate the teaching method used in class.
Cards and Counters: This set of materials includes cards representing the numbers from one to ten, and 55 red counters. Children learn how to place the appropriate number of counters under each card. They will place one counter under the number one, two counters under the number two, and so forth. Children may also use this set to understand the concept of odd and even numbers. Even numbers will have sets of paired counters. Odd numbers will always have one counter extra.
Binomial Cube: Children as early as four years old can begin to grasp the concept of binomials by putting together this puzzle. The binomial cube has eight pieces. One piece is entirely red, and one is entirely blue. Three blocks are red and black, and three are blue and black. Each side must match up to another side of the same color. When the puzzle is completed successfully, it will fit together perfectly in a square box.
Red Rods: Ten wooden rods, lying side by side, can help children grasp the idea that some objects are longer than others. The children pick up a rod with both hands, grasping each end. The child lays it down. The child then picks up another rod, also with both hands, and lays it down parallel to the first. The child will place all ten in the correct order, from shortest to longest. The child can use both their muscles and their eyes to see the difference in length between the rods.
Number Beads: This is a ten-piece set of multicolored bead strands. The first strand has only one bead, representing the number one. The second strand has two beads, and so it goes in the same way all the way to number ten. When the child places the strands in order, with the ten-strand at the bottom, the materials will create a bead stair. This is a valuable tool for teaching addition and subtraction. Sometimes we will partner the beads with a worksheet.