I’ve always been more of a big picture person. And when it came to Montessori, it was the theory that drew me in first – especially when it came to math. Montessori realized (thanks to Blaise Pascal) that all humans have a mathematical mind by nature. We can’t help but calculate, count, or measure. Everything has a mathematical foundation. Dr. Montessori divided her math materials into five groups. Most of my students are still working with the materials in group 1. I’d love to give you a closer look.
Group 1 offers the child an introduction to the numbers 1-10 (their symbols and quantities) and children begin this journey by working with the number rods, which teach the quantities for 1-10 and the sandpaper numbers, which teach their symbols.
Children work with these materials separately and once they have a solid understanding of symbol and quantity on their own, we combine them.
From here we do something really cool with the number rods. One of the later exercises prepares children for later work with addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. We use the number rods to see how many different ways we can make a number. If we start with 10, we see that 9 and 1 make 10, so do 8 and 2, and 7 and 3, etc. It is so cool to see these children do addition and subtraction without knowing it.