Tuesday 29 January 2013


Montessori Activity: Static Addition with Number Rods (加法 [jiāfǎ])

AGE: From 3.5 years old (after mastery of The Number Rods and Sandpaper Numbers)


1.     To associate symbol and quantity.

2.     To prepare for addition.


1.     Set of Red Rods or Number Rods

2.     Set of Number Tablets (or Sandpaper Numeral Cards)

3.     1 mat


1.     Arrange the Number Rods in sequential stair formation on the mat.

2.     Take out the cards and place them randomly onto the square mat.

3.     Separate Rod 10 from the others to the top of the mat.

4.     Have the child count it and the mark it with the appropriate card.

5.     Tell your child that you are going to make tens with the number rods.

6.     Move Rod 9 up beside Rod 10.

7.     Have the child say what rod it is, count it and place the correct card.

8.     Ask the child: “I wonder which rod we can put to make this nine the same length as the ten?”

9.     Have the child join Rod 1 to the end of Rod 9 and place Tablet 1 at the end of the Rod 1.

10.  As you point to the numbers, say: “9 + 1 makes 10.”

11.  The Number Tablets may be used to state equation together with the “+” symbol.

12.  Repeat in the same way for the Rod 8 and make it the same length as the Rod 10. Say: “8 + 2 makes 10.”

13.  Repeat for Rod 7 and Rod 6.

14.  When the child gets to Rod 5, show him how to flip it to the right hand side and say: “If we had another 5, we could make 10.”

15.  Ask the child if we have something in the classroom that is similar to the Rod 5.

16.  Have the child bring over the fifth rod from the Red Rods and see if it is the same length as the Number Rod 5.

17.  Place it to the left of the Number Rod 5 and say: “See it makes the same length as Rod 10.”

18.  Take away 5 by flipping the Rod 5 back. Ask the child what is left. State equation: “10 take away 5 is 5.”

19.  Repeat for the other combinations of tens and then nines, eights, etc.

20.  Put back The Red Rod back on the shelf and have the child rebuild The Number Rods in stair formation.

21.  Put back the cards in the box.


Repeat but this time start with the number rod 9 and have the child make 9’s. (Remove rod 10 and place it on the empty mat, out of the way.). For making 8’s, remove the Rod 10 and Rod 9. For making 7’s, remove the Rods 10, 9, and 8 rods, etc.


The number of partitions on each rod acts as a guide.


The child can work on his own as shown in the presentation as an exercise.

J (3Y10M24D) tried this for the first time today. He was able to find out that intuitively adding Rod 1 to Rod 9 will make 10 and he could do it all the way to adding to the end by adding Rod 5 to Rod 5. As this was the first time we did this activity, we conducted it in Mandarin. I was hoping that we would repeat this in English the following day, he requested it again to be conducted in Mandarin as well.
So far, J has the tendency to name 5 wrongly in English and sometimes also naming 6 wrongly. However, he has no problem in Mandarin.
Research has shown that reaction time tend to be faster when one thinks in Mandarin when doing Maths because numbers in Chinese are single syllabus. Chinese numbers are also very logical when articulated in Mandarin, contributing to the faster thinking time. However, I also want him to be fluent in English so that he can follow the Montessori classes in Singapore, when we are back home on vacation.
I am not sure if I am doing the right thing by repeating the lesson in English, or whether I should just use Mandarin all the way. I will wait and see and observe more, until I decide. Maybe I might only teach and do Maths activities solely in Mandarin.

1 comment:

  1. I just stumbled upon your blog, googling Montessori, and I love all your Montessori lessons! It is wonderful how you pinpoint your objective and your thorough thought process! Thanks for sharing :)


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