Monday, 18 August 2014

Infinity Street

Not long ago I was introduced to a brilliant counting activity which has been invented for Montessori classrooms; Infinity Street. This activity is designed to give children the opportunity to practice reading and making numbers beyond a trillion. 

 Each number family is represented in a house on infinity street. In each house lives the units, tens and hundreds. The houses increase with size as the numbers get larger.

The number families represented on this street are, units, thousands, millions, billions, trillions, quadrillions, quintillion, and sextillions. Of course the houses can go on and the numbers can increase but I found that this was sufficient for the children. Each number family name was written on a card which also contained a comma.

This activity is very easy to make. It took me about 40mins to cut all the houses in yellow foam and the colour strips in red, blue and green. 

Here is the activity in use by some children in the lower elementary classroom. The coloured strips are actually made for the beads to fit.  After the child lays out all the houses, they select beads at random or to make a chosen number. Once the beads have been placed in each house, the child practices reading the number using the cards to help. 

In this particular photo the child made the number 111,659,232,875,768,888,111,466. To read the number the child said; one hundred and eleven sextillions, six hundred and fifty nine quintillions, two hundred and thirty two quadrillions, eight hundred and seventy five trillions, seven hundred and sixty eight billions, eight hundred and eighty eight millions, one hundred and eleven thousands, four hundred and sixty six. 

It is truly amazing that a child of 6 or 7 can read numbers so large with accuracy :)

As will all other Montessori materials, the child will gradually work away from using this activity to being able to read the numbers in complete abstractions. 

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Introduction To The Checkerboard Lesson

The checkerboard is one of my favourite pieces of Montessori materials. 5 years ago I blogged about this homemade checker board which I made  from felt.  

I have had great success introducing the checkerboard to my students. However, I have noticed that some students do find it difficult to understand the place value of each square on the checkerboard. I was recently introduced to this preliminary exercise which I have now started using in my elementary class. This lesson is great and  has been very popular :).  

It is very easy to make this activity. Each of the squares is cut out from felt. They measure 4cmx4cm. You need 10 green, 9 blue and 9 red. 
I then made label cards for each square. I have uploaded the file here to share with you all for free. 

When presenting this lesson you start with the unit row [bottom row]. You place the green square at the bottom right of your mat and label it. To the left of this you place the blue square, name as 'tens' and label. You continue placing the squares for this row until you have reached 1 million. Next you start on the tens rows by placing the ten square on the second row above the units and continue placing the squares and labeling until you reach ten million. The hundreds and thousands rows are built in the same way.

A fun extension to this lesson is to play a card game. 2-3 children can randomly select a pile of cards. Each child then has to place the labels on the correct square. The winner is the child who first places all the labels correct!

Let me know if you make and try this lesson. I'd love to know how it works for others. 

Monday, 10 March 2014

Sentence Analysis - Post 1

Little-N has recently become obsessed with the Sentence Analysis work. In this activity the child analyses sentences using a series of charts and symbols. In the picture above, the sentence contained a verb, subject and direct object. I downloaded this chart for free from here.
Sentence Analysis is a long and detailed study, which I usually begin with the child once they have studied all parts of speech [and know the grammar symbols]. The above chart is the simplest form. The child will progress to analyse sentences which contain conjunctions, adjectives, adverbs and more. Below is a picture of the complete set of materials. However, some training colleges may use different charts.
I decided to purchase the PDF set of materials from here. The file provides print out symbols and charts. Also included are step by step directions for presenting the materials. This homeschooling blog has a great post about Sentence Analysis. 

Above [sorry for the bad quality] Little-N is working on another Sentence Analysis lesson at home. He enjoyed it so much he wanted to do another lesson this evening! In the above photo, Little-N is analysing a sentence which contains to verbs and one subject. 

I'll post again soon with the next Sentence Analysis lesson we do.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Montessori Hierarchy Of Number Material

I recently got this wonderful material made for my class. This material provides children with a concrete representation of the quantities of numbers 1 through to 1,000,000. The familiarity of the colour coding and material, really supports each child to develop an understanding of the sizes of the large numbers compared to units.

 I used a large 50cm x 50cm x 50cm card board box for my million cube. We spray painted in it green. A grandfather of one of my students made the other pieces in wood. 

Here the million, thousand and unit cubes are stacked for comparison.

Here the hundred and hundred thousand squares are stacked.

My class had a lot of fun comparing the pieces and labelling with numerals. Next week I will be presenting another lesson which follows on from this and helps the children develop an understanding of numbers over a million.