This is Miss Jennifer. I am trying my hand at writing a blogpost.
A few weeks ago, I tried Instagram live for the first time and it was so much fun to visit with you all in your homes. I hope you and your children enjoyed doing some math exercises together with me.
I hope this post will explain some background as to why Montessori uses these math materials to promote understanding of the language of Mathematics in our young children.
The first Presentation we did together is called Sandpaper Numbers.
We looked at how to say the number and then properly trace the number. Starting from the top, then following the number down to the bottom.
This practical approach teaches the child to recognize the number visually. Then through hearing the name and repeating the name of the number vocally. This uses as many sense channels of learning for the child is absorbing their environment using any many senses as they have.
Through tracing lightly over the sandpaper material the child feels the correct shape of the number and can self correct if needed to follow the number flowing from top to bottom slowly.
In using the first two dominant hand fingers and tucking the rest of the fingers down, the child is preparing their fine motor muscles of their hand, thus making them stronger so as to be able to hold and use writing tools. This helps the child to print the numbers before they have the fine motor skills to write them successfully on their own. The sandpaper numbers can be used with children as young as two and a half years old, up to five years old.
If you would like to make these materials for use at your home.
Cardboard or thick cardstock
Sand or Salt (small fine grain) or glitter glue
1) Cut out a rectangle about the size of an adult handprint (fingers closed).
2) Draw numbers 0-9 large and shaped like the numbers in the following exercise: cut-out numbers and counters.
3) Colour the number in
4) Trace a good amount of glue on the numbers you have drawn
5) Sprinkle on sand or salt (or glitter glue as last choice)
6) Shake off excess
7) Allow to dry overnight or until fully dry before use
Step 1 Step 2
I then showed how to allow the child to use this material to count on objects.
1) Ask the child… What number is this? (3)
2) Wait for a reply. If they don't know, that is totally okay. Just tell them the answer and smile. (it is the number 3)
3) Show them how to trace the number. You trace first with your first two fingers and start at the top and work your way down to the bottom.
4) Making sure they are using their “bunny ears” first two fingers up, the others are tucked down under their thumb, have them trace the number. If they are having trouble tracing on their own you can place your hand over theirs and guide them. (they trace 3 and say 3)
5) Have them count out the amount of objects for that number. Example: 3 the child counts out three things. It really helps if the objects are of similar size and shape, like stones, coins, etc and they can all fit into one small basket or bowl.
6) This work is done at a table.
Please be very patient. It is totally okay to just do one number at a time over many days, if the child is young. If the child is showing interest in doing more, add another number. Let them count as long as they are interested.
If they are showing that they are getting to be not interested or tired. Stop. Acknowledge their very good work. Let them know that they can do this work again another time with you. Let them know that this was fun for you too.
We are laying a foundation of love for Math. We have to be careful to not work the child too hard at first. Let their interest and happiness guide you in playing this Game, while you work with them for as long as they want. Some will work at this for 5 minutes; others for up to 20 minutes.
Most of our 3 year olds love this work and will happily do numbers 1-5 easily. It is working the understanding of 6-9, plus the concept of 0 that will be a challenge for the child. Most of our 4 year olds have mastered this work, but love doing it as a review. Also to show how smart they are at knowing their numbers.
The game with the basket I was describing is like this;
Basket or small bag or small bowl
Objects or small toys that will be able to fit into the basket
Method of Game:
1) Show and say the number (3) Child takes the number with them to look
2) Ask child to “go to find three things and put them in their basket”
3) When the child brings back the 3 objects, have them count them out on the table in front of you. It is totally okay if they get the answer wrong… just show and ask them the number again and send them out to find more.
Extension for older/ elementary children:
1) Same as steps 1-3 ( the number now stays on the table with you)
2) Ask: How many will we have if you add (3) more?
3) Have child find (3) more and add them to the objects on the table
4) Say out loud: First we had (3) then we added (3) more now we have (6)
5) So 3+3=6
REMEMBER that the child can make the numbers out of playdough or clay. Just have the number card nearby for the child to copy.
The second Presentation we did together is called Numbers and Counters.
This work is for ages three and a half to four and five year olds.
This work builds on the visual recognition of the number as well as the amount needed for each number.
The next building block to learn is how to arrange the numbers into what is known as number order. We were working before with sandpaper numbers in an isolated manner. This work puts the numbers in order. It works with teaching the child how to remember, “what comes next?” and also “how many?”.
The Montessori method uses the child‘s sense of wonder at putting things in order then mixing them up and then putting them in order again to very good use. The child would be well indoctrinated in order versus mixed order through the use of the sensorial materials. The first presentations a child receives, in the beginning of the school year, are cylinder blocks using the order versus mixed order method.
If you would like to make this material for your home.
thick cardstock paper
55 small items to arrange and count with
(coins, poker chips, pompoms, large beads, dried large beans, bingo chips, marble glass drops, stones, etc.)
Small rug (or small baby blanket)
2 Baskets, or small boxes, or bowls
1) Make Number cards (½ the size we made above)
2) Make numbers 1-10 on cardboard or cardstock. Just write the number the same as in the picture below (this is what your sandpaper numbers should look like as well)
3) Place numbers into a small box, basket or bowl.
4) Have the 55 objects for counting in another container
Note: you can cut out the numbers or not.
1) Lay out the number cards in mixed order on the bottom of the mat.
2) Child finds number 1, puts it at the top right hand corner.
3) Child finds and counts one object and places it under the number one card.
4) Child finds number 2, places their left hand beside the number one already placed, makes a full hand space, then places the number two card down on the mat.
5) Child finds and counts two objects and places side by side, (as if they are holding hands walking to the park) under the number two card.
6) Child finds number 3, makes a hand space, places it, then finds three objects and places them in a group of two with one underneath (should look like a triangle)
7) Child does the same for the number four, it‘s objects should look like a square underneath the number four card
8) Child continues up to the number 10. Making the pattern in the picture above.
Note: this work usually takes a long time to lay out on the mat, some children will need encouragement to start, to continue, and to finish to the number ten. This can be 30 minutes or take up to an hour, or more. Just be patient and let them work. This is developing the ability to focus and concentrate to be able to complete. They can take a snack break and come back to this material. When they complete this work please make a good acknowledgement for their time spent and hard work accomplished. They will be intensely proud of themselves when they can finish and then even more so, when this work is so easy. They learn, through this work and others, that sometimes things take a long time to do, or that things may take many days of doing to understand or may take practice to become competent. All of these are great qualities to instill in the child to understand hard work will help them in the future.
Game for this material:
Parents or older sibling can ask the child to find and point to the number 3.
Ask, “can you find (3)?”
When the child does, acknowledge them and then ask, “can you count it for me?”
Acknowledge and play the game until all numbers have been counted.
Older Children can learn about Odd and Even numbers with this work. I will try to show this part of this work in another instagram live.
I really hope that this blogpost explains any confusions that may have happened during my first instagram live. Most of the children can use the above presentations. Please have fun working with this work and learning how smart your children really are! It is really amazing how fast they learn these Math concepts and language.