Numeracy: Seguin Board A – Teen Numbers 11 to 19

Learning mathematical concepts in a Montessori classroom begins concretely and progresses towards the abstract. Order, coordination, concentration, and independence are experienced by the child using these materials. When the child has mastered working with the bead stairs and the golden bead materials to learn the place values (units, tens, hundreds and thousands), the next step will be to introduce the traditional number names by forming quantities with the concrete material first and then associating each quantity with their written symbols through the Seguin Board A. With this activity, the child will learn that the teen numbers, 11 to 19 are made up of a ten and number of units. It not only helps the child in writing these numbers but also in understanding the base of how many tens and units make a number.


In the Montessori classroom, when teaching the child the teen numbers 11 to 19 using the Seguin Board A, the teacher will follow the three-period lesson. During the first presentation, the teacher will first place the materials on a floor mat and introduce the child first to the ten bead bars and the short bead stairs. The teacher will then ask the child to build a triangle with the short bead stair. The teacher afterwards will ask the child to remind her of the ten-bead stair. During the three period lessons, the teacher teaches the child the names of the teen numbers from 11 to 19. Two or three new numbers are taught in one time depending on the child’s ability to learn the new number of facts.

In the second presentation, the next stage will be to present the written numbers. To do this the teacher uses just Seguin Board A and the set cards of 1 to 9. The teacher will first teach the child the symbols for 11 to 19 and then will point to the first 10 on the Seguin Board and ask ‘What is this?’ When the child replies ‘10’, the teacher will then slip in the number 1 card over the zero and say ‘This is 11, 10 and 1 make 11’. From there onwards, the other teen numbers are introduced to the child slowly two or three at a time depending on the child’s ability.

During the third presentation, the teacher will show the child how to match the beads to the symbols building the quantities 11 to 10 with the beads and making 11 to 19 on the Seguin Board A. The child will firstly prepare for the materials along with the teacher on the floor mat with the Seguin Board in the middle, the number card 1 to 9 to the right of the board and the ten-bead bars and short bead stair to the left. The teacher will then take one ten-bead bar and one from the short bead stair and place it to the left of the first ten on the board and say ‘This is 11, can you make 11 on the board’. Once the child has selected the correct card and builds 11, the teacher will then ask the child ‘Do you know what comes after 11?’ The child should answer correctly saying ‘12’ and build number 12 on the board under 11. The child is then asked to continue this way until they have built the quantities 11 to 19 and made the corresponding symbols on the board.

Note: Because the short bead stair is built in a triangle, the child only has to take the next bar from the triangle and the order 11 to 19 will be controlled.


When doing this activity at home with your child, there are different variations on how to do this activity such as by playing a game of counting objects, people on the bus, tress in a park etc. or by playing a game of clapping your hands ‘thirteen times’ for example or walk ‘seventeen steps.’ To teach the child how to do the Seguin Board A: Teen numbers 11 to 19 at home, you will need: 1) a set of number cards from 1 to 9 2) a set of the number card 10 3) Beads on a string or playdough balls to represent the ten bead bars and short bead stairs (1 to 9)


Objectives when teaching the Seguin Board A: Teen numbers 11 to 19 to the child: 1) To teach the child the quantities and numerals 11 to 19


“A child who has become master of his acts through long and repeated exercises, and who has been encouraged by the pleasant and interesting activities in which he has been engaged, is a child filled with health and joy and remarkable for his calmness and discipline.” - Maria Montessori -



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