## Sunday 27 January 2013

### Montessori Activity: Matching Numerals To Number Rods

 J (3Y10M22D) - Verifying Rod 5 (aka The No. 5 Train) by counting it, before driving it to its "parking lot" denoted by the number tablet 5.

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

OBJECTIVE(S):
1. To associate symbol and quantity.
2. To prepare for addition, subtraction and multiplication.

MATERIALS:
1. Set of Number Rods
2. Set of Numeral Tablets (you can also use Sandpaper Numbers instead)
3. 1 mat

PRESENTATION 1:
1. Ask the child to set up the Number Rods in stair formation on the mat.
2. Read through the Number Tablets and place it back to the shelf.
3. Take Rod 1 and say: "this is one," count it and ask the child: "Can you find the Tablet 1?"
4. The child goes to the shelf and brings back the Tablet 1.
5. Let him verify by counting the rod.
6. If it is correct, ask the child to place Tablet 1 beneath the last segment on Rod 1.
7. Do the same for all the rods and tablets.
8. Do the Three Period Lesson.

PRESENTATION 2:
1. Place the Number Rods on the mat in mixed order and place the Number Tablets on the mat in mixed order.
2. Pretend that the rods are trains and that each section of the rods is the train’s coaches. Pretend that the tablets are “parking lots” for the trains.
3. Show your child a tablet and ask him to name the numeral: “What number is this?” and place the tablet in a line on the side.
4. Ask your child to find the corresponding train (rod): “Can you find me the correct train and count the number of coaches?”
5. Ask your child to park the corresponding train (rod) beside the tablet.
6. Do the same for all the rods and tablets until all of them have been matched.
7. Always finish the lesson by placing the rods and tablets in correct sequence.

 J (3Y10M22D) - "Driving" the "No. 5 train" to its "parking lot", and making the cho cho sound along the way
 J counting and self-verifying the no. of "coaches" on the "No. 10 train" i.e. the Number Rod 10, and driving it to its "parking lot" denoted by the number tablet 10

PRESENTATION 3 (Reversed exercise of Presentation 2):
1. Place the Number Rods on the mat in mixed order and place the Number Tablets on the mat in mixed order.
2. Pretend that the rods are trains and that each section of the rods is the train’s coaches. Pretend that the tablets are “parking lots” for the trains.
3. Show your child a rod and ask him to name it and to count it.
4. Ask the child to find the corresponding number tablet and place it beside the rod.
5. Do the same for all the rods and tablets until all of them have been matched.
6. Always finish the lesson by placing the rods and tablets in correct sequence.

TIPS:
To encourage instant recognition without counting, show a child a rod and ask the number, or vice versa, show a number tablet and ask the child to find the rod without counting. Thereafter, count the partitions out loud so that if a child makes a mistake, it is corrected without placing blame. This can be played by a group of children.

VIDEO DEMONSTRATION:

J (3Y10M22D) tried this today. J is not very fond of Number Rods, but it is part of the Montessori Maths Curriculum and an important step in it. So I persevere through it. Number Rods had been introduced to J since he was 2.5 years old, and each time he was not interested at all.

Initially I thought that it was because it was home-made - made of LEGO. So I bought the real Number Rods from one of the Montessori educational materials company. But he still wasn't keen on it. I have been very lenient, putting it aside and coming back. As a result, my Maths Montessori attempts last year 2012 was rather hap-hazard. Just going with the flow and not following any sequence.

This year 2013, I am determined to be more structured. I will not move on to the next activity, if he has not mastered the current one yet.

I realized that parental resolve seems to help tremendously. It is just like the car seat belt - there is no discussion.

So for the last one week, I have been doing nothing but various combination of Number Rods. J is not only showing more focus in his work, he is also improving a  lot more. Repetition definitely helps in learning, and this is the case with Montessori.

The Montessori school in Singapore also made me realized that this is the way to go. The children there are free to choose any Montessori Practical Life activity, but when it comes to Montessori Maths activity, it is a one-to-one time with the teacher. The children don't get to choose it. They go through the series of activities, and they don't skip any, until they master it. Also the children there are assessed after each activity to see which level they are at, whether they would proceed to the next Maths activity or continue on. In other words, they follow a structured Maths curriculum.

The only thing is, as Daddy pointed out to me, the teachers there do it with a straight face, and it looked boring. It is after all a job, in a country as stressful as Singapore. His assessment of the Montessori enrichment centre's teachers that we sent J to wasn't too positive. He thinks that I am doing an equally good job, if not better, and with passion and love (Maybe it is just his way of avoiding having to fork out money and listening to my constant request of sending J to a Montessori school, since if I do it, it is free and less painful on his pocket. Well he forgot the expensive materials I have shopped using his money, oh well, our money :-)!!!!) I didn't really see it, until I began to analyze his description. After all the teachers follow the same motion every day and with so many different children, how enthuasistic can one get? So I am not as critical as him. But I am following the same concept of the Singapore Montessori school - no skipping of any Maths activity, but as a parent, I think I am doing it with a lot more passion and love. It is not just a job.

I have found a way to make it fun for J. I pretend that each rod is a train and each section is the train's coach. And I pretend that the number tablet is the parking lot for each train. That helps a lot. J enjoyed pulling the "trains" to the right "parking lot".

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