Kal-El has been working on the multiplication bead bars this week. Doing multiplication with the bead bars is a sensorial introduction to the memorization sequence for this operation. We started with sevens because it provides a nice variety of bead bars for the products. If you chose something like fives there is too strong of a pattern in the products. I don't know if you can tell, but Kal-El is smiling hugely in the picture above. He loves multiplication.
Above is a photo of his completed table of eights. He tries to stack the bars very closely and neatly together into squares and rectangles. He knows that this work is one of the many baby steps he is taking toward building the decanomial bead square (you can see this work being done here at the blog Somewhat in the Air). Another step toward that work that he has already taken is the sensorial building of the square of Pythagoras or "decanomial square."
A Montessori classroom might have a separate set of beads for just this work. We are using the bead bars in our decanomial bead box to do this work. If we run out of a color we can easily borrow from our golden beads and our snake game boxes. In a classroom you wouldn't want to do it that way because other kids might actually be doing those works and some would be stealing beads from each other left and right.
You will want the child to take special note anytime the product makes a square. Kal-El did this naturally as a result of all of the bead chain work he has done. When he finishes a table he always "reads" all of the equations he made such as "one taken one time equals one" and he also likes to read the products forward and backwards as if he is doing the bead chains.
Today's post was a little mathematical break away from geology. I will be back tomorrow with mixtures and solutions (as they pertain to geology). Whoopee!