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Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Math Fact Practice with Montessori Elementary Kids

There are so many reasons to love the Montessori materials and method. The hands on approach makes mathematical concepts accessible to even the smallest of children. All the different material options really give children the opportunity to practice and learn the concepts in a way that makes the most sense to them. But after age 6, during the second plane of development a shift begins to occur in children. They move from children in need of concrete materials to illuminate math concepts to more abstract learners. 


Montessori Math Facts Practice for Elementary Kids


Much like traditional methods of teaching math, these abstract learners begin to rely less and less on physical materials to support their math work and more on their mental understanding of the concepts. One important step in making this leap is learning and memorizing math facts. Instead of needing to use a material (including their fingers) to remember that 7+3=10, they need to just quickly remember that the answer is 10. These little equations help them more quickly and easily move through larger more complicated problems. 


Now, whether your child is in a traditional elementary school, a Montessori one, or being homeschooled, learning these math facts will be part of their work (especially early in their elementary years.) In our experience, it has been one of the few at home (homeworky) tasks asked of parents with kids in Montessori elementary school. So, I thought I would share some of the ways we try to make this (sometimes boring) task a little more fun and concrete here at home. 


Traditional Montessori Materials 


Checkerboard Beads: we use these for all sorts of things - adding up points in games, picking a number and seeing which combos make that number and for figuring out any problems that they still need more help with. 
Finger Charts: These are perfect for checking work. Blank charts can be fun to fill out. We most frequently use the addition and multiplication charts.  

Montessori Friendly Options


Place Value Dice: we use these for dice games and for making up problems (both big and small)
Multiplication Board: we can quiz each other, scramble them up and then replace, or put them all back in order. Also fun to use to fill out finger charts
The Incredible Math Games Book: this book has all sorts of games to play that include mental math and other math concepts. 
Tiny Polka Dot Game: this set of cards is perfect for earlier learners starting to work with mental math - particularly addition and making combos of 10
Addition and Subtraction Tile Board: subtraction has been a harder one for us to find ways to practice so I love that this board includes both and isn't a fine motor challenge (like the multiplication board)

Other Options We Want to Try


There are tons of other amazing games on the market that work on similar concepts for kids. Here are a few games on my list that I would love to try!
 
Sum Swamp (addition and subtraction)
Pet Me (multiplication and division)
Proof! Math Game (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and square roots)

I'm sure there are many other super fun ways to practice math facts at home! How do you practice math facts with your elementary aged kids? 

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