Tuesday 13 November 2012


Montessori Activity: The Teen Board & Beads

AGE: From 4.5 years old (after your child has been working with golden bead materials, the colored short bead stair or teens with rods)


1.     To introduce teen quantity and symbol and to give the child the concrete understanding of teens.

2.     To provide materials to combine symbol and quantity to create new numbers.


1.     1 set of teen board (2 wooden frames with nine 10's printed one below the other. Each section containing a numeral ten has slots in which unit cards can be affixed, thus covering the "0" in ten. The last section of the second frame is blank)

2.     9 golden ten bars

3.     1 set of colored bead bars 1 to 9.

4.     1 set of number cards 1 - 9.


1.     Name the Teen Boards and show there they are kept.

2.     Place teen board on the left and slot in the number in order into each slot.

3.     Lay out the colored short bead bars and build a stair.

4.     Lay out a ten-bar each beside the board on your right side in order and name it as you go: “This is ten, this is ten…” all the way until 19.

5.     Place a unit bead beside the ten-bar, count and say: “This is one. Ten and one is eleven.” Point to the matching symbol on the board and say: “This is eleven.”

6.     Place two units beside the ten-bar, count and say: “This is two. Ten and two is twelve. ”Point to the matching symbol on the board and say: “This is twelve.”

7.     Repeat for 13 – 19 and say: “thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen.” Tell the child that the “teen” tells you that these are numbers between 10-20.

8.     Do the Three Period Lesson. Go back to the eleven and ask the child: "What is this?" or "How many tens in this?" The child will respond "one ten" or "one".

9.     Replace back the materials and invite the child to try.



The empty section at the bottom of the second frame may be used to give the child the concept of 20 or 2 tens. The 20 symbol printed in blue on the cards used for the golden bead material may be used in this slot. Place a ten bar before the child, place the nine bar next to it, add the one bar and count. Replace the 9 and 1 with a 10 bar. Show the child that you now have "2 tens" or "20". Place beads and symbol in place. This prepares the child for the ten board.


Joshua (3Y8M8D) tried this today. He could do it, but didn’t show much enthusiasm about it :-( He didn’t bother counting the beads. I think I had more fun with this activity than him, which is an irony.

Updates 9 December 2013 (4Y10M4D)

J started out being very unserious bordering on whimsical. He got very creative with the Teen Board, but creative without any logic by sliding the numbers in no particular logic. And he could not just not remember his teen numbers in Danish, but also could not match 1-10 in Danish. He also kept working on it from the opposite direction, thus looking at the numbers up-side-down. I got very upset with him, since we have worked with numbers for more than a year now.

We went down for dinner, and I apologized for losing my cool with him. I was disappointed with myself for having so much expectations, and yet didn't quite know how I could correct the situation. I asked him if he would want to continue to work with Montessori. He replied that if I don't get angry with him, he would want to continue working with Montessori. I was relief and touched, and I told myself not to get upset with him, if he still does not know his teen numbers after so much practice. I told myself that I will just come from the low level of a learning challenged kid, and thus anything would be a bonus.

While Daddy was giving him a shower, I went to revise my lesson plan and watched the youtube video. When J was done with Daddy, we started the session with watching two youtube demonstration, in particular this presentation with a child participating.

I went on to demonstrate to him and said that we can try to take a video of him. He got inspired by the child in the demonstration and this time round, he approached his work with a lot more focus and seriousness, while having fun - he treated the 10 bars as train as he moved the "trains" to match the 10 bars.

We did the videos in Chinese and he wanted also to do them in Danish, however, we run out of time as it was 9pm, way too late for his bed time. The session ended well and I am thankful for being able to approach it with unconditional acceptance. By recording this down, I want to remember this lesson for myself not to be upset with J. For J, it helps a lot to video down his work. It helped him to take pride in his work, as it made him respect his work more and gave him the desire to do a good job. In the videos, J added in the "bowing" component, which he learned from his Suzuki piano class.

9 Dec. 2013 (4Y10M4D) - J pretended that the 10-bars as trains and drove the "trains" to each of the 10s in the Teen Board

J's demonstration in Mandarin (except for the Part 1 video, which is in Danish, where he lined up the 10 bars to the board by pretending that they were trains).

9 Dec. 2013 (4Y10M4D) - J pretended that the 10-bars as trains and drove the "trains" to each of the 10s in the Teen Board

Updates on 16 Dec. 2013
This morning, J requested to do Montessori, as he was too tired last evening. This time round, we revise the teen numbers in Danish and we made a video of the demonstration in Danish.

9 Dec. 2013 (4Y10M4D) - J pretended that the 10-bars as trains and drove the "trains" to each of the 10s in the Teen Board



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