Jordan has grown leaps and bounds since he began Montessori preschool/kindergarten in September, and it is interesting to reflect back on his journey. Once Jordan had mastered the Number Rods and could correctly pair each rod together with the corresponding numeral, I introduced him to the Spindle Boxes. The numbers on the box are fixed, yet the quantity is free moving, which definitely provides a greater challenge.
Montessori Preschool Math Materials: Jordan’s Experience with the Spindle Boxes and Numbers and Counters
On his first try, Jordan was able to place the correct amount of spindles in each compartment and was very proud that he did it without any help. He also liked the fact that he didn't get “tricked” by the ‘0’ compartment … he knew right away not to put in any spindles. I knew he was clearly ready to give the Numbers and Counters a try!
With the Numbers and Counters, nothing is fixed. Both the Numbers as well as the Counters are free-moving, presenting a much bigger challenge for the student. I gave Jordan the basket of Numbers and asked him if he would put them in order at the top of his mat from 1 to 10. At first he mixed up the 6 and 9, but quickly corrected this. Once he had the Numbers in the correct order, I asked him if he would begin placing the Counters below the Numbers.
I pointed to the number ‘1’ and asked him to tell me the name of the symbol. Jordan responded, “one”. Next, I asked if he would place one Counter below the number one. We continued in this manner all the way to the number 10, and I showed Jordan how to place the Counters in pairs.
Placing the Counters in pairs below each Number is a wonderful visual for demonstrating the concept of odd and even numbers.
Jordan still enjoys working with the Numbers and Counters. Every time I change the Counters, it seems to renew his interest in the activity. Some of the Counters he has enjoyed the most include: pennies, shells, smooth river rocks, pieces of “gold”, and most of all, the dinosaur counters!
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Friday, May 27, 2011.