The Blue Squares

Recently we had a very generous donation of hundreds…and tens, and units! In Montessori, students starting in the early childhood begin learning about place value with the Thousand Cubes, Hundred Squares, Ten Bars, and Unit beads. As students come to master the initial lessons on value they begin using these materials to perform mathematic equations (including addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division). What some people might not realize, however, is these materials surface again and again, all the way into upper elementary. Even though the students move away from the Golden Bead material and onto the Stamp Game, Dot Board, and Bank Game for basic equations they return to it for more complex work such as squaring double digit numbers greater than 10, and performing binomial multiplied by binomial. Once they have had their initial lessons on these advanced equations we can start using a more abstract material than the beads…enter the blue squares, rods, and cubes!

Many parents are surprised to see students doing this level of work, but with the Montessori method and the materials we are able to break down the equations and show the students what they are multiplying. Using the materials also provides a control of error the student can see and touch, along with the F.O.I.L. acronym. It’s not usually long before the students start moving further into abstraction and are writing their workout before stopping to count the cubes. This work is really fun for the students, and it’s so wonderful to have them come ask for bigger and bigger numbers. Thank you again to our donor!