The early Math lessons in the Montessori environment teach students how to identify and quantify numbers. Below is a list of activities similar to those we do in the classroom.
The activities have been listed in order of difficulty. It is best to start each child with the activity under which they are listed. Once they have mastered that activity, you can move on to the next. Not all children will be ready for the next step, so be patient. You can also incorporate math into your daily routine simply by counting (to 20 while washing hands, the amounts of forks on the table, the number of steps down the stairs, etc.). Counting in sequence is an important skill to master at this age.
Some fun counting songs we like to sing in the class:
1-2-3-4-5 once I caught a fish alive (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ir_l7qTiZ4)
1-2 buckle my shoe, 3-4, get the door, etc. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Otf4_UEvnQ8)
I. Activity titles and student names:
Number review activity: Kasim, Leo, Max, Sebastian, Ami, Mason, Nakoa, Sonoma (although appropriate for all)
Number and counters activity: appropriate for all but particularly for Blythe, Tobin, Sonoma, Max, Arvin, Luna, Lilia, and Quinn. All children who work on this activity should first be comfortable with their numbers, so the number review activity listed above should be done first.
Writing numbers activity: appropriate for all but particularly for Blythe, Tobin, Sonoma, Max, Arvin, Luna, Lilia, Quinn, Jacobo, Haven, and Harper.
Bead chart: Luna, Lilia, Quinn, Harper, Jacobo, Haven, Arvin
Teen beads: Harper, Jacobo, Haven
II. Activity descriptions
Number review activity
How to: Print and cut the number cards 1-10 (the first sheet of the pdf: https://www.eduplace.com/math/mthexp/g1/visual/pdf/vs_g1_19.pdf ; alternatively you can use a deck of playing cards which has cards numbered 1-10). Review the numbers with your child using a three period lesson format described below.
The three period lesson:
This is the core lesson used to teach vocabulary in the Montessori environment. It is called a three period lesson because it unfolds in three stages:
1. Introducing the new vocabulary
2. Playing an active vocabulary word game
3. Verifying that the child has learned the vocabulary
Three new vocabulary words are always introduced together (this eliminates the luck of 50/50 odds guessing when using only two words, forcing children to actually distinguish between vocabulary; it can be played with more than three words). This format can also be used to learn language sounds and any other vocabulary that can be physically represented (e.g shapes, types of materials, etc.). So here is a description of such a lesson for number learning using number cards:
1. Introduce the vocabulary: choose three number cards and introduce each individually to the child (e.g.: for cards 1, 2, and 3: isolate the first card and say “this is one”, then isolate the second card and say “this is two,” then isolate the third card and say “this is three”).
2. Play an active vocabulary word game: Place all three cards face up on the table and ask the child to identify the cards using various commands. It is important that both the child and the cards move during this step. Movement is essential for learning and if you don’t switch the position of the cards, children can simply memorize their positions without learning the vocabulary.. Commands often used are: point to_, give me_, move_over here, put _on your head, trace_etc. (e.g.: “point to 1, point to 2, give me 3, move 2 over here, etc.---again, shuffle the position of the cards on the table every once in a while between commands)
3. Verify: once the child has been successful in identifying the numbers in the playing round, ask the child directly what each card represents (e.g.: What do we call this?)
Alternate number activity: With the child place 3 or more of the number cards somewhere in the house (on counters, shelves, in closets, etc). Then ask the child to bring you the cards one by one by name. This will allow the child to move around the house while learning to distinguish the various numbers!
Numbers and counters activity:
How to: Print and cut the number cards 1-10 (first sheet of the pdf:. https://www.eduplace.com/math/mthexp/g1/visual/pdf/vs_g1_19.pdf; alternatively you can use a deck of playing cards which has cards numbered 1-10). Review the numbers with your child (for example, see three period lesson above). Place cards upside down and randomly pull a number. Ask the child to identify the number, and then to bring (on a tray if possible) that number of the same object in the house (e.g: if the number is four, the child could bring four spoons, or four potatoes, four matchbox cars etc.). Make sure to verify/ count the number of objects the child has chosen/ brought.
Alternate activity using the same number cards: Find 55 objects to use as counters (e.g.: beans, marbles, beads, popping corn, etc.) and work with the child to place the correct amount of counters below each number. It will look something like this: https://livingmontessorinow.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Ladybug-Cards-and-Counters-Layout.jpg
Another alternate activity: Print both sheets of the pdf above (so the number cards and the counter cards). Cut out both sets of cards and work with the child to match the number card with the appropriate counter card (make sure you ask the child to carefully count the counter dots).
Writing numbers activity:
How to: If you have a whiteboard or a chalkboard, ask your child to write the numbers. It is often helpful if the child has an example as a reference while writing (so you can either write the number yourself or use the number cards here https://www.eduplace.com/math/mthexp/g1/visual/pdf/vs_g1_19.pdf). This activity can also be done on paper. You may have to pre-write the numbers for them to trace. Alternatively there are a variety of number writing worksheets like this one on the web: https://i.pinimg.com/564x/da/2e/ca/da2ecade11a710ac43898211d9531519.jpg. Make sure to emphasize that the child holds the pencil correctly while writing.
How to: Print the control chart https://www.imagineourlife.com/printables/BeadStair-control.pdf . Review each bead chain by counting the number of beads and identifying the number and color. Print the bead stair chart and ask the child to color the beads (each bead circle individually) and if possible to add the number next to each bead chain (they may need help and you may write the number first for them to trace): https://www.imagineourlife.com/printables/BeadStair-colorsheet.pdf
How to: Print the 11-20 beads worksheet. Review numbers 11-20 with your child by first counting the number of beads and then pointing out the numerical symbol for each number. Ask the child to trace each number with a pencil and to color the beads. We use a very specific color scheme for our beads (which the children know). All 10 beads are colored in gold, while the single color beads follow the scheme seen here: https://www.imagineourlife.com/printables/BeadStair-control.pdf . Here is an image of what the teen beads should look like when the child colors them: https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/2975/3018/products/Hanging-Bead-Stair-1-L2_900x.jpg?v=1517690914
Alternate teen activity: print the teen number cards and cut them out: https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/2775/4170/products/Slide02_7ff2600f-65b4-4f30-9145-32632bff54b1_525x700.jpg?v=1553980549. Play a three period lesson game using these cards (see the description of a three period lesson under the number review activity).
Alternate teen activity: Print and cut the number cards 1-10 (first sheet of the pfd:. https://www.eduplace.com/math/mthexp/g1/visual/pdf/vs_g1_19.pdf) Review the numbers with your child. Place the 10 before the child. Cover the 0 of the 10 with the 1 card to make 11. Ask the child to identify this new number. Review the other teen numbers in the same way. You may have to cut the single digit number cards smaller so that you can create the teens. It should look something like this (although here multiple 10’s are used):https://1.bp.blogspot.com/_amE6oI4YajE/SCdHBkkLg0I/AAAAAAAAAn0/FJIYHle-35Q/s400/IMGP3888.jpg. Here is a more involved version of this activity in which you can make your own teen board which works in the same way by adding a single digit number (1-9) over the 0 of each 10 to make teens: http://ahandmadechildhood.blogspot.com/2010/03/montessori-teen-board-on-fly.html