Montessori learning environments take a unique approach to teaching mathematical concepts. The carefully designed mathematics materials take an abstract concept of maths and make it into concrete materials that the children can hold in their hands. The Number Rods for example help the child to understand the numbers from 1 to 10.
What are Number Rods? Number rods are Montessori mathematical materials that expose the children to the concept of measurement to compare quantities of the numbers. It is a material that is great for teaching one on one correspondence and it is made simple for the children because the quantities are fixed. The Number Rods also provide a visual understanding of the order of numbers for example four goes between three and five. In terms of the material, the number rods consist of ten coloured rods, divided into equally sized red and blue sections. The length of the rods progresses linearly, with the second rod being twice the length of the first, the third rod three times the length of the first, etc. The Number Rods are introduced to the children of the age group three years onwards, once the student has mastered the Red Rods and has expressed interest in the Number Rods.
When teaching the child addition with Number Rods, the presentation is undertaken on the table with the small number rods and if the large number rods are used then the presentation is undertaken on the floor. Firstly the teacher will ask the child to build two stairs, 1 to 10. The teacher will then say take the 6 rods from the left stair and place below the 4 rods. She then takes the 2 rods from the right stair, placing the 4 and 2 rods underneath the 6 rods. The teacher will then count 4 and 2, pointing out that together they are equal to 6. Lastly, the teacher will then show the same situation but this time placing the 2 rods before the 4 rods to get the same result that they equal to 6. When doing this activity at home with your child or in the Montessori classroom, always encourage the child to note which rod is added each time, to make it equal to the control rod.
Objectives of teaching addition with Number Rods to the child: 1) To introduce the child to addition with numbers 1 to 10 2) To show the child how to record additions up to 10 3) To provide controlled exercises for teaching number bonds
“Never help a child with a task at which he feels he/ she can succeed.” - Maria Montessori -