My daughter, who is six years old, has been learning about numbers for awhile using both a natural and more structured approach to her learning. She is very curious about numbers and always eager to explore them. So I wanted to introduce her to the Montessori Number Rods. I love that Montessori uses concrete hands-on learning materials that make abstract concepts more clear which supports the learner to make progress, at their own pace, towards understanding these abstract concepts.
I originally looked at purchasing a set of number rods for my daughter to use instead, I came across this Easy DIY Montessori Number Rods and was inspired to make my own. So with the help of my husband, we made our own number rods. We adjusted the measurements (5cm long for each colour) to make our rods slightly shorter to fit our learning environment. I placed our number rods on a long tray and put it on our math shelves.
Montessori Primary Guide have a great step by step lesson plan for introducing number rods to learners if you would like to read about a more structured approach. For us, I waited for my daughter to choose this activity from our shelf before talking with her about the rods and exploring how we could use them together.
We first talked about the lengths of each rod and how some were shorter and others were longer. She wanted to order the rods from smallest to biggest before I encouraged her to count the coloured squares to check her work. This was followed by placing number tiles next to each rod to representing the rod’s value. Although I offered a lot of scaffolding the first time she chose this activity, she was able to repeat this activity again by herself independently. 

I wanted to introduce my daughter to addition using the number rods. Again I waited for her to suggest the concept of addition which did not take very long for this to happen. We started by making 10. We laid the 10 rod out and matched two smaller rods (4 and 6) to equal to 10. We repeated this process a number of times adding different number rods together to equal 10. The same activity can be done to make 9’s, 8’s, 7’s, 6’s, 5’s, 4’s 3’s and 2’s. 

Addition led to exploring subtraction with the number rods. Again we started with the 10 rod and selected a smaller rod to “take-away”. My daughter preferred to place the rod on top of the 10 rod so she could count how many we left over as well as being able to see which rod fit. This was a little tricky for her so we stopped it and went back to addition.

You can find more Montessori math ideas and resources on my Montessori Mathematics pinterest board and be sure to follow me on facebook and instagram

This blogpost is linked up with Montessori Monday – Living Montessori Now
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