Thursday 21 August 2014


Montessori Activity: Addition Strip Board

AGE: 5.5 to 6 years (after introduction to decimal system, golden bead work, bead stair, teen board, etc.)


1. To provide your child with concrete experience in addition.
2. To prepare your child in learning the addition tables.
3. To prepare your child for abstract mathematics.
4. To train concentration.


1. Addition Strip Board
2. 1 set of addition worksheets containing problems under 9
3. 1 set of addition worksheets containing problems over 9


1. Place the board on the table.

2. Point to the numbers at the top of the board and say, “This is where the answer is found.”

3. Have the child take out all the blue strips and arrange them in sequence either above or beside the board.

4. Have the child take out all the red strips and arrange them in sequence either above or beside the board.

5. Select a problem such as 2+3=?

6. Select the blue strip 2 and place it on the first row of squares from left.

7. Select the red strip 3 and place it after the blue strip covering more squares of the first row.

8. Call attention to the position of the strips by pointing to the strip and number on it and say the problem "2+3=".

9. Point to the number above the end of the second strip and say, “This is the answer.” Then say, "2+3=5" pointing out each part as you say it.

10. Review the written problem and write down the answer on the addition worksheet.

11. Return the strips to the stair at the completion of the problem. (Later a child might choose to continue by leaving each problem, but leaving them on the board limits the strips available).

12. Repeat with the next problem and allow the child to work with it as soon as he seems to understand the procedure.



1. Give the child equations in another form:


1. Verification by the Directress.
2. Verification by the Addition Chart.


1. Have the child set up the material as in Presentation 1.

2. Ask your child to place the blue 8 strip on the board.

3. Say, “Let’s find all the ways to make 8.”

4. Have your child place the blue 1 strip on the board and count the remaining squares.

5. Ask, "What red strip do we need to make 8?"

6. Let your child place the red 7 strip next to the blue 1 strip.

7. Write 1 + 7 =8 on a paper and read it together with your child.

8. Have the child place the blue 2 strip on the chart. He should then place the red 6 strip next to the blue 2 strip.

9. Record and read as before.

10. Say, "We are now going to look to see if there are any more combinations such as 7 + 1 and 1 + 7, etc."

11. Continue in the same way until all combinations are exhausted.


I tried this with J on 23 August 2014 (5Y5M17D). He was able to use it well, though he was not too keen after a few equations. The following day, we tried presentation 2. We took turns to make different combinations and he found it fun. There were lots of laughter and he enjoyed it. He said he wanted to do it again tomorrow (Sunday). I was thrilled that he on his own initiative wanted to do it again, and was tempted for a moment, but I told him that Sunday is a day of rest and we would not be working on Montessori. It will be the first time that I am trying it out not to do any work on Sunday, but simply to rest, play and enjoy the time with the family. I hope I will succeed.


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



We did, for example, different combinations that add up to 15

 The Montessori Addition Strip Board is available from Amazon:


  1. Hello - I really like your blog. I have a 6.5 year-old son, and I have decided to supplement his school math program with Montessori Math. I have bought all the materials, however, my problem is that I do not know where to start, or what sequence to follow. At 6.5, should I start with bead stair and number rods, or is he too old? However, I feel that I would like him to get the feel of these materials, even though he is a bit on the old side for some of them. I've googled the internet for Montessori Math sequence, but have really not found anything very helpful. Perhaps you can share some insights? thank you for your help!

  2. Thanks! Since you already bought all the materials, I think it would be beneficial for you to start with the number rods and the bead stairs. The good thing about starting later is that since your child is older, he will run through the lessons and the beginner's materials faster. I have just posted the recommended sequence. Enjoy the exciting journey ahead and all the best :-)


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