Teaching 1, 10, 100, 1000 with beads

Of all the materials I’ve tried from the land of Montessori, this particular bead material is my favorite.  I got it for $15 from Alison’s Montessori.  It contains nine unit beads, nine ten bars, nine hundred squares, and one thousand cube.  They are connect nylon beads, not near the same quality as the individual bead sets, but they are sufficient for me.  They are far superior to the base ten sets at Amazon due to the weight of the material.  A typical thousand block in conventional base ten material is hollow and doesn’t FEEL like 1000.

My favorite Montessori album is the one at http://www.montessoriworld.org/.  I love the simplicity of the outline.  Montessori has such interesting ideas that it’s a tempting to proliferate material in her style and clutter up the curriculum.  Montessori World does not make this mistake.

Decimal quantities is taught directly after the numerals and quantities of 1-9 are mastered.

Exercise 1:  Introduce the quantities 1, 10, 100, 1000.  Encourage the child to feel the quantities and say their names, hand them to you or move them around the mat when the names are said, and finally identify them when presented alone.  What is this?  Hundred.

Exercise 2:  Once the quantities are mastered (without numerals), demonstrate going to the next hierarchy every time one passes nine. Ten units is actually one ten bar.  Ten ten bars are one hundred, and following until we get to the thousand block.  The is repeated on subsequent days until the child has mastered it.

Exercise 3:  Naming Quantities:  I call this “fetching.”  Hand me two hundreds.  Good, put them back.  Now go find eight tens.  
Numerals are not introduced until these three lessons are mastered.

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