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Added Mar 11, 2019

The Short Bead Stair

The Math sequence in Montessori classrooms follows the same design as the classroom as a whole. Identify a concept. Present it in isolation. Allow time for mastery. Identify a slightly more complicated concept. Present it in isolation. Allow time for mastery. Repeat. Throughout the classroom, children explore single concepts individually before combining them in more nuanced ways.

Working with the Bead Stair follows the same process. The child has already been presented the Number Rods, the Numerals from 1-9, the Spindle Box combining and the Distance games that combine numerals and quantity. An introduction to the Bead Stair is a natural successor. Having learned about numeral and quantity, the Bead Stair offers children an opportunity to practice math facts, and to learn how to annotate equations accurately. Children can combine any two numbers from 1-9.

In this initial work, children practice building the stair outside of its frame, establishing the pattern and relationships of quantities from 9-10. Afterwards, children explore operations with the Bead Stair. They have already mastered combining numerals and quantity, but now they can do so while sitting at a table. Children are introduced to the symbols \\" + \\" and \\" = \\" while they build their equations, and part of the mastery we seek is the ability to lay out an equation in right order, then work through the equation. As such, this is a work that bridges the concrete manipulatives to more abstract ones.

Children enjoy practicing with the Bead Stair because of the beautiful beads and the concepts they represent. Over time, this exploration instills quick recall of the math facts they\\'ll need for more advanced operations.

Catherine McTamaney, Ed.D.

Christopher Academy Alumna

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