Montessori education promotes hands-on learning to produce “can do” kids, but what does that mean in practical terms? The Short Bead Stair is one example of a hands on method to teach mathematics.
Dr. Maria Montessori prepared a set of colored beads to help toddler and preschool children to grasp the idea of quantities from 1 – 9. Each quantity is represented by the appropriate number of individual beads joined together as a bar.
1 is represented by a single red bead;
2 is represented by 2 green beads strung together to make a bar;
3= 3 pink beads;
4= 4 yellow beads;
5= 5 light blue beads;
6= 6 purple beads;
7= 7 white beads;
8= 8 brown beads and
9= 9 dark blue beads.
After the initial introduction of matching the bead bars with written numbers, the children work with many worksheets that familiarize them with the bead stair.
With the short beads stairs on the shelf, the children can then proceed to addition, subtraction, multiplication and learn borrow and exchange.
Doesn’t this make more sense than viewing abstract lines of chalk dry on a blackboard?