Friday 2 May 2014


Montessori Activity: Static Addition with Colored Bead Stair - Unit Place Value (加法 [jiāfǎ])

AGE: 4.5 to 6 years (after the child has worked with addition with red rods, has mastered the colored bead stair and plus and equal exercises)


1.     To teach counting and addition of the unit place value in a concrete manner.

2.     To tech the definition of addend (加数 [jiā shù]): a number to be added to another (Addend + Addend = Sum)


1.     2 sets of colored bead stair

2.     3 felt pieces or colored paper

3.     1 addition worksheet

4.     1 pencil and eraser


1.     Lay out the colored bead stairs on the left and right of the worksheet.

2.     Have your child read the first question: “1+3=?”

3.     Have your child pick the first addend red 1-bar from the left colored bead stair, count it and place it on the mat.

4.     Have your child pick the second addend pink 3-bar from the right colored bead stairs, count it and place it on the mat, making sure that the beads are not taken from the same colored bead stair.

5.     Have your child place both bead bars in a line on the mat.

6.     Have the child count the total number of beads: “1,2,3…”

7.     Ask the child write or paste the result onto the equation and say: “1+3=4”.

8.     Return the colored bead stair and encourage your child to try the different combinations from the worksheet.

9.     Later: Introduce written equations as outlined in Addition with the Table-Top Numerical Rods.


1.     The child's knowledge of numbers.

2.     Verification by the teacher.

3.     Addition Control Chart.


1.     Other materials may be substituted for the bead bars, such as shells, buttons and so on.

Shu-Chen Jenny Yen’s On-line Montessori Albums

Brilliant Minds Montessori Maths Curriculum

I tried this with J on 5 May 2014 (5Y2M0D). It was too easy for him at this age. He could do it and he had also memorized the color bead number. Soon after, he was doing the calculation mentally in his head. However, whenever he made a careless mistake calculating in his head, I asked him to verify the answer by using the color bead stair. So this activity served as a control of error for his mental calculation.

5 May 2014 (5Y2M)

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