Bead Chain Extensions

I love the Montessori math materials because they offer so many neat extensions. It would be extraordinarily challenging to present all of them, but they each offer a unique way to learn about the relationships that make up the foundations of all math.

The bead cabinet is used for work in Children's House through Upper Elementary. Right now, Caleb is using the short chains (representing the square of the numbers 1-10 in one long line with section breaks for each set) for counting. You can see an example of Aidan counting the 10 squared, or 100 chain last year, here. Each short chain, also has a matching bead square.

We keep our short chains and squares stored in a box instead of on the wall, and a week or two ago, Caleb discovered that the squares made a pyramid, just like the individual bead bars make a stair when arranged shortest to longest. After letting him experiment with that for a few days, I presented the chains together with the squares, showing him that 5 sets of 5 is equal to the 5 square. (This is all precursor work to skip counting, multiplication, and area work.)

A few days later, I found Caleb diligently folding each chain into the square and then stacking them to make a pyramid. It was very challenging, and eventually took two of us. The second pair of hands was needed to help keep everything steady while everything was lined up. We also discovered that rotating the chains (so they are folded perpendicular to the chain below- see pyramid on the right) helped keep the whole thing upright!


We haven't done the long chains (representing each number to the third power) or cubes yet, but one of the cube extensions is to make a tower that looks suspiciously like the pink tower. Very neat stuff! Although, while the long chains can also be folded into the cubes, I doubt they would be stackable when they were all finished!


Mari-Ann said...

Hello! I just found your blog and am so excited to see you're involved in Montessori teaching! I am too. :)
I can't wait to take a look around!

Kylie said...

Just letting you know that I have an award for you over at my blog.