Purpose Grouping Math Materials in Montessori Classroom

In continuation of our last learning, we need to understand when the child must have had enough practice with the first groups of Mathematics materials with activities such as numbers 1-10, number rods, sandpaper numbers, spindle boxes, zero activity, cards and counters, and memory game of numbers, and many more. 

The child progresses to the second and third group materials with activities in decimal system which include: golden beads, cards, golden beads and cards; change game, collective exercises involving addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. The child is also exposed to teen beads, teen boards, teen beads and boards, tens board, liner counting and skip counting and so on.

After the child has had enough experience working with the above materials, then the child moves to working with the fourth group of materials with activities using the essential combinations with exercises like snake game, strip board, multiplication with coloured beads; unit division board, blank, work & control charts, etc.

The purpose of the second and third groups of Mathematics materials in the Montessori classroom is to offer continuation of counting from units, hundreds, and thousands to up to infinity to the child. 

After that, the child has mastered the place value of zero in ten which is 0, in hundred which is 00, and in thousand which is 000. The child will be able to count from several thousand to millions, billions, trillions and infinity as he continues to work with the third group all through his years in the Montessori environments. From the lessons offered in the primary environment to the lessons that will be taught to the child in the elementary environment.

When do we offer linear counting to the child?

The child is offered linear counting after he has had enough experience with the activities of the first group of material - numbers 1-10 and zero. For example, number rod, number rods and cards, zero activity/game, numbers and counters, etc.

Having assimilated the above activities, the group two activities are introduced to the child which is the decimal system. For example, the teens’ beads, teens boards, teens beads and boards, change game, collective exercises, etc.

The third group which forms the essential combinations is then offered to the child. For instance; addition, multiplication, subtraction and division stamp games, addition snake game, subtraction snake game, multiplication with beads bars, unit division board and control and work charts. They are more.

It is after the guide had offered the child lessons in group two activities that she introduces the child to linear counting and skip counting so that the child can count and mention large numbers as he continues to work through the rest of the group two and three activities.

Examples of linear counting activities are the hundred, thousand and short chains in the Montessori prepared environment - the casa house. The child can thereafter work comfortably with other activities with the fourth group materials which involve large numbers like the dot game, snake game and stamp game and more.

Finally, the child passes to the abstraction stage, which is the fifth group in mathematics materials activities and this involves small or large bead frames, wooden hierarchy material, division with racks which also contains large numbers, fractions - equivalence, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division and other materials in the mathematics area of the Montessori prepared environment that involves large equations and numbers.  

Morenike Taiwo is an AMI (3-6) Primary Montessori/Early Childhood Development Educator, she wrote from South Africa.