After a two week break, the girls were very excited at yesterday’s lesson. Luckily, the first half hour was spent on a chess lesson with my husband, so he got to deal with most of the hyperactivity :-). By the time it was my turn, they had mostly settled down.

Katie received a set of Montessori beads for her birthday, and I was itching to use them in an activity with the girls. The set consists of rods with colorful beads on them. Each rod contains between 1 and 9 beads of the same color, and there is a one-to-one correspondence between the numbers and the colors.

My most successful activity involved the girls taking turns rolling two dice. After rolling, they could take some number of rods so that the total number of beads equaled the total number of dots on the dice (incidentally, one of the dice only had the numbers 1, 2 and 3, so the total never exceeded 9). The girls would always take one or two rods, and my guess is that they didn’t realize that they could take more. Perhaps a more interesting observation is that when they took two rods, they did not always take the same combination that was showing on the dice: that is, the dice might have showed 2 and 5 while they would take 3 and 4.

It was a lot of fun watching the girls make their decisions about which combinations of rods to take. Even though I had not imposed any rules, I noticed that after some time the girls were picking their rods so as to collect as many different colors as possible. They were solving an interesting problem without me having to pose it and without even realizing it!

The girls had so much fun playing with the beads that they didn’t want to stop at the end of the lesson and made me promise that we would play again with them soon. Now I need to come up with more games/activities involving the beads. Suggestions?

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About aofradkin

I enjoy thinking about presenting mathematical concepts to young children in exciting and engaging ways.

Look at Montessori sources. They definitely use these beads for some activities 🙂

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