Friday 14 March 2014


Montessori Activity: Knobless Cylinders

Age: From 2.5 years old

1. To observe and grade by height and/or size.
2. To give the child preliminary concept to mathematics.
3. To train the eye to fine differences in dimensions 
4. To recognize difference and similarities (when using more than one set) 

1. 4 sets of knobless cylinders - red, yellow, green and blue boxes

1. Show your child the red box or let him choose a box and have him bring it to the table.
2. Take out the cylinders and put in front of you in random order.
3. Scan the cylinders by finger and select the thickest cylinder.
4. Arrange the cylinders into a stair from the thickest to the thinnest, saying "This cylinder seems thicker."
5. Show your child how to put them back into the box.

Video Demonstration:

1. Grade 2 boxes.
- Take out the red and green box.
 - Grade the red as in Presentation 1.
 - Take out all of the green cylinders and encourage your child to arrange them from shortest to tallest  in front of the red cylinders.
- Repeat with Red and Yellow Boxes, Green and Yellow Boxes, The Red and Blue Boxes, Green and Blue Boxes and Yellow and Blue Boxes
 2. Grade the red cylinders in reverse, and this time in front of the green cylinders so you are now comparing them in the other direction.

3. Superimpose one over the other but always keeping the one with the larger base on the bottom.

4. Grade 3 boxes at one time.

5. Grade 4 boxes at one time.
No language is required, but you can say, "This  cylinder looks taller, this cylinder is wider."
Set 1 and 2:
Large - Small  Large - Larger - Largest  Small - Smaller - Smallest 
Set 3:
Thick - Thin  Thick - Thicker - Thickest  Thin - Thin - Thinnest 
Set 4:
Tall - Short Deep - Shallow  Tall - Taller - Tallest  Deep - Deeper - Deepest  Short - Shorter - Shortest  Shallow - Shallower - Shallowest

Control of Error
Visual - it is up to the child to learn from their own observations and make the correction on their own.

Additional Information:
The knobless cylinders have been sitting on our display shelf for months. I have not had the time to review the lesson plan. This evening, J (5Y0M9D) asked to play with the knobless cylinders today. He started with building models with it - rocket, vending machine, fortress for a good 20 minutes. While he was doing it, I was reviewing the lesson plan. Then we watched a youtube demonstration together. I asked him if he would like to grade them according to height and size and he said he would. So he started working on the knobless cylinders building them into towers.


He started stacking it not in any particular order.

That was his rocket

This was his "vending machine" for soda, milk, juice and saft vand

Could not remember what this was

This I think was his fortress

The Montessori knobless cylinders are available from Amazon:

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