Raking autumn leaves - Practical Life Activity
Montessori Letter Work book

Teen Board at 36 months - Montessori Math Lesson (This "Is" vs. "Says")

Montessori Teen Board is a great way to introduce the concept of teens to a child. Not only children see how tens and ones are being build to make teens, but they are also physically building teens themselves! We are using a traditional Montessori Teen Board (bead-bars and beads sold separately here), which is a foundation for this style of education. This material is wonderful, as it is extremely concrete, allowing your child to visually and physically build numbers both numerals and quantity.

In Montessori math curriculum, numbers are perceived as:

(1) a quantity - actual spindles/marbles/beads your child is holding, which represents a true quantity - what a number really is. The language you would use when addressing quantity is "This is"

(2) a numeral - a symbol people came up with to represent such quantity on paper. The language you would use when addressing a number/numeral is "This says "

20161213-20161208-DSC_0606A Teen Board is essentially (2) sets of boards, (9) bead-bars of ten and loose colored beads from one through ten. You would arrange the boards to the left of a rug, and have a child set up numbers in order one through ten to the right of the rug.



"this says 10”


"this is 1-ten bar


"this says 1” 


this is 1





Show a child how to make a first teen: eleven, by pointing to the first number ten on the board  “this says 10”. Then, show a child one string of beads and count the beads in a one-ten-bar: “this is 1-ten bar.” Then, pick "one" wooden numeral from a right column and say: "this says 1.” Point to one tiny bead and say  “this is 1-bead.” Then have the child slide a wooden number "one" on top of ten written on the board. 

DSC_0028"One and ten makes eleven." 

20161208-DSC_0608Proceed similarly, showing a child that twelve is made up of number ten and two (one-ten bar and two tiny beads).

20161208-DSC_0608Have the child slide a wooden number two on top of a ten board, making twelve.

DSC_0028Making thirteen.


Start with introducing (3) teens at a time, concluding with a Montessori 3🅿️🌠 Three Period Lesson. (Read how to present a3🅿️🌠 Lesson here).

DSC_0028Gradually, add more teens, finishing with nineteen.  
DSC_0028Nineteen, just like eleven is made up of one-ten-bar and nine-beads!

I started introducing beads and ten-bars even before Adrian's third birthday (read here), but I would say, three years old is a good age to start introducing Montessori Teen Board. Keep in mind that you would want to present this activity few times before a child gets a solid understanding of teen building. Also, keep in mind that children need movement (especially younger ones who have difficulties sitting still), so you might want to move numbers across the room (or place them in another room), and ask a child to get up and get them. The younger the child, the shorter should be the distance you let them walk with numbers. Children love putting items in different places and bringing them back again later. 

Movement = Fun = better absorption of information = faster learning!

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