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What is the Decimal System?
The Decimal System is also known as the Base 10 system, and is the math system most widely used. Here’s a link to Wikipedia that explains it better than I can.
Introduction to Quantity
In a Montessori curriculum, we start by introducing the names of the numerical positions as represented by golden beads. The reason for this is so the child can visualize the concept of units, tens, hundreds and thousands.
I used the Montessori 3-Period Lesson (Introduction, Recognition, Recall) to introduce Z to the names, then we spent some time playing games to reinforce it to memory. I found that making up a simple song is the best way to help him remember.
Here’s a written lesson for the Introduction to Decimal System.
Once he has shown that he can remember the names about 80% of the time, I move on to playing “Go Fetch” games. This is much more fun and helps him to further remember the names!
I removed the Introduction to Quantity tray and replaced it with a larger Golden Bead supply basket. Our Golden Bead basket has 9 thousand cubes, 9 hundred squares, 9 ten bars, and 9 unit beads (for now).
I also printed out a control card and pasted it right above the tray. Although he cannot read yet, it serves as a visual representation of the Introduction work — every now and then he will point to it and say the names.
Here’s a video of both the Introduction and how we play our “Go Fetch” game.
Where to buy the Golden Bead materials
I got ours from Alison’s Montessori. We got the whole Golden Bead bank game because we will be going very far with this work. With the whole set, I was able to extract just the parts that we needed for the introduction lesson.
Alternatively, you can DIY. But to be honest, this is a lot of work that I knew I wasn’t going to have time to commit to. Here are some folks who have DIY’ed:
- Imagine Our Life used wooden beads and eyepins.
- Montessori On A Budget shares a myriad of links and alternatives for those on a budget.
- Montessori Mischief made some with holiday garlands. She also has a video tutorial! The only difference is that her hundreds are bundled as opposed to stacked in the traditional Montessori way.
- Our Montessori Home bought an initial set of golden bead materials, then she printed out the other thousand cubes and hundred squares that are needed for later work.
A less expensive but still useful alternative is the Base Ten Math Set by Learning Resources. It teaches the exact same concept, except they are cubes as opposed to beads.
I hope this has inspired you! For more resources on Montessori Math activities, I encourage you to check out all the blogs listed below:
Don’t forget to check out my previous posts as part of this 12 Months of Montessori Series: