Easy DIY Place Value Mat

Place value mats are often used with the Golden Beads and Stamp Game to help organize the materials.  I wanted something simple and easy but more than just paper.  After a bit of thought I came up with this.  I made two.  The mats I got from the Dollar Store for $3 each.  I already had the white acrylic paint (Dollar Store paint) and the fabric paint (Walmart) and the masking tape.

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First I put the tape on the mat to define where the lines would go.  Then I used the paint and a paint brush to paint a line down the edge of the tape on the carpet.

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After that I used the fabric paint to write the numbers at the top and let dry.  And voilà!  All done.

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Multiplication

After addition with the golden beads, Pumpkin 1 wasn’t keen on subtraction, so on consultation with other Montessori moms, I introduced multiplication.  Multiplication?  For a 4 year old?  Yes!  Multiplication is only the addition of the same number multiple times.  Usually this is done in the Montessori classroom with a group of children.  Since we don’t have a group, I used little peg people.  I thought that would make it more fun for her.

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After giving each “person” the same amount.  We added it all together.

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Who knew multiplication was so simple and fun?  Pumpkin 1 didn’t want to try it again so I made it more engaging by appealing to her sense of imagination.  We said the golden beads were treasure each person had and we had to figure out home much they had altogether.  After the second calculation she told me the people were tired and needed to go to sleep.  Oh well.

We actually had a really good work session today (in between Pumpkin 2 throwing things, climbing on me and treating me like a jungle gym while I tried to work with Pumpkin 1).  He always wants to be a part of everything but he’s still in a key time for gross motor skills.  I really should put an oval line on the floor.  I wish I had a balance beam.  He did work for a bit on the Animal and Plant sorting cards.

Pumpkin 1 did some Pink Series writing and reading.  I’ve put all the materials for the Pink Series in tackle boxes.  She’s good at writing with the moveable alphabet but she still really struggles with sounding out.  She’ll say the sound of each letter but when she puts it together will use different letters or say what she thinks not what she read.  She is really good at sight reading and knows a lot of words that way so she gets frustrated at having to sound out, she wants to just memorize every word.

We did the life cycle figures and read the little life cycle books, Pumpkin 2 sat on my lap to listen.  Then the two of them worked on patterning with the math link cubes, Pumpkin 2 just did whatever Pumpkin 1 told him.

 

After that Pumpkin 1 did the North America continent map with flags, and matched the objects in the continent box with the cards.  We also read the little book about North America and she looked at pictures of Banff Park with the ViewMaster.

Then that I suggested lunch but she wanted to do the Flag Map.  Somehow, the key I made, is lost but she remembered almost all the flags and even corrected me when I confused the Algerian flag with Pakistan’s.

It’s great when we have a good work session, especially since yesterday’s was a bust.  I just need to find more for Pumpkin 2 to do.

Introduction to Addition

So our new math materials from IFIT arrived quicker than I expected.  I was very happy with the quality.  I’ve always been happy with my purchases from there.  Pumpkin 1 was excited to use them.  I realized after that I should have done the change game before addition, though it’s not necessary.  However now that we’ve done addition I think I’ll stick to static addition (no carrying) and then introduce changing once she’s confident with addition.  I’m planing to teach her to add from left to right than right to left since that’s how you use the soroban.

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So first we did two amounts on different mats.  The wooden cubes and squares and the large and one of the small number sets are all from IFIT>

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Then we moved all the materials onto one carpet to “add” them together.  It’s such an ingenious way to teach addition and really gives a child the concrete, hands-on experience of it.

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I’d been struggling on how to move forward with language and the moveable alphabet with Pumpkin 1.  Someone suggested trying the Montessori Pink Series.  I downloaded the card set for free from The Helpful Garden.  It went over really well.  Pumpkin 1 was really into writing the words.  I think it helped to have them sorted by the vowel.  It was too hard for her to hear the different vowels so this way it’s easier for her to break down the word to write it.

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Later I caught her trying to sound out words in a learning to read book.  We’ve looked at the books before but she hadn’t figured out the concept of sounding the words out so I put it aside.  It’s exciting that she’s transferring the knowledge to other areas.  It’s hard to trust the Montessori process because it’s different than what’s traditionally done, but it really works!

 

Golden Beads

So Pumpkin 1 is finally ready for the Golden Beads now that she is confident with her numbers up to 10.

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I started off with giving her the beads and telling her the names.  I find she doesn’t remember words quite a quickly as she did when she was 2 and 3.  I suppose she’s past the sensitive period for language.

Next I gave her the number cards 1000, 100, 10 and 1 and we matched them up.  I made my own Golden beads because 1) I wanted to save money and 2) I wanted to do them in two shades to show the 5+ in line with the RightStart Math approach.

It’s not hard to make your own materials.  You need round faceted beads (not perler, if they’re not spheres they won’t make squares), stiff wire, mesh frame (from the dollar store), wire cutters and needle nose pliers.

After I was finally done making 8 more 100 squares and 8 more 10 bars I introduced her to how numbers are formed.  The decimal system or place value is the next step in Math in Montessori and it’s a little different than what’s done in the main stream.  This is because children like to work with large quantities, the child’s absorbent mind and his sensitive periods for order, language and refinement of the senses.  The bead material is very sensorial, the child can see the difference between 100 and 1000.

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This was really fun.  I love how hands on it is and how the child can actually see and feel the amount.  It allows Pumpkin to have an understanding of place value that she wouldn’t have grasped otherwise.

The next step is supposed to be done another time but I find you can often combine presentations in home schooling because it’s so 1 on 1 and since she was really engaged I thought it was good to take advantage of it.

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So I lay out numbers and then she put out the amount of beads to match.  Then she wanted me to lay out the beads and she find the numbers.  She liked it that way better and we worked on it for quite a while.

Next she asked about 0.  First I lay out beads with no thousand cube and she wanted to know why we don’t put a 0 before the 100.  I was really surprised though when she asked about doing a 0 in the other numbers.

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She caught on right away how to write the number with 0 in it and wanted to pick different place values to have 0.

We didn’t do the names of the 10’s numbers.  Instead I called them 2 ten, 3 ten.  The traditional names will come later.

When she was tired of the Golden beads she asked to use the Addition Strip board I had gotten in the mail the day before.  I had worked with her on it after we opened it but realized she just wasn’t ready and it was too abstract but she begged to do it today.

The reason I got the board is because I’ve been really interested in the Japanese Abacus called the Soroban.

Using an abacus requires knowing the sums that equal 10 really well.  This is also part of the RightStart Math curriculum and so the addition strip board is a good way to work on this.

First I said she had to show me she know how to add beads together on the abacus to make 10.  After she did some I went and got out the Addition Strip Board.

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She was able to do it but I could tell she didn’t understand the concept so I had her match two strips on the board and then do those numbers on the abacus and that did help but then she discovered something neat….

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The Math cubes fit perfectly on the board!  This was great because it really helped her see the concept.  She could see the amount of cubes and then count out how many more she needed to add.  I think we will use it this way for now.

She worked for a long time today.  It’s fun to see her learning and as someone who hated Math in school, I love the way Montessori is done, making Math easy to understand and fun.