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April 30, 2021

Alternatives to Montessori Trinomial Cube

Every week, Gus' Montessori school sends us a few pictures of him working at school. Lately these pictures have included a picture of Gus working on the Montessori trinomial cube. If you aren't familiar, the trinomial cube is a material that mixes both sensorial and math impressions. In Children's House, it's mostly a sensorial work that gives the impression for mathematics later on. 

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The trinomial cube itself is made of different cubes in different colors and shapes that need to be placed back in a box in a very specific order. The trinomial cube comes after the binomial cube which is a smaller, simpler material.  What's amazing about both the binomial and trinomial cubes is that they represent algebraic equations and will be brought back into the child's life in late elementary school as they are being introduced to the specific mathematical concepts. It's a very cool way to prepare a child for abstract thinking without jumping into abstract concepts. 

Over the last couple of weeks, Gus has been home from school in quarantine (he's fine, btw.) And he's been asking for the trinomial cube. Well, we don't have one. We do happen to have a binomial cube, and I asked him if he wanted to try that one. And he looked me straight in the eye and said, "what do you mean? The baby one!" HA! So clearly he has moved on from the binomial. 

The experience has gotten me thinking though, how are we incorporating materials here at home that have both a visual and spatial reasoning component. And, honestly, I think it's an area where we could do better. So I went on the hunt for a few alternatives that work on similar skills that we could have here at home. I wanted things thing that had some visual distinction and were in some way three dimensional. Turns out there are some decent alternatives available. (None include the amazing mathematical relationships, but I'm willing to let that part go right now.) 

At this point, I'm not sure which one I'm going to add to our shelves. I'm leaning toward QBitz which might be a good level for him without an overwhelming amount of pieces. Plus I think it looks like the older children could also really enjoy it.  I'll definitely let you know! 

Does your child like the trinomial cube? How do you bring those skills home?

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