Monday, September 23, 2013

Montessori Elementary Math: Exploring the Hierarchical Material

We finally did it!  Today Kal-El started ELEMENTARY math albums!  

The first presentation was the hierarchical material that I made myself with various materials

 Me Too will be in the primary albums for a little while longer, but there was no reason he couldn't come along for the ride on this presentation. It would never be as interesting as it was today.

I own four elementary math albums (Cultivating Dharma, Keys of the Universe, Mid America, and Montessori R&D).  I read them all in-depth this weekend and KotU will be my main math album, hands down, with Cultivating Dharma a close second.

Today I gave the standard first presentation in which they were introduced to different hierarchies or families and had three-period lesson on the terminology.

All of the photos in the post today are of the second presentation in which the child freely explores the relationships among the various pieces.

 According to the albums, what you hope is that the child comes to the realization that there are multiple relationships among these pieces on their own during the first presentation.  That is exactly what happened.  They couldn't wait to show me what they had discovered.

I think I took about 25 different unique pictures as they explored different relationships.  That was far too many to post here.  I probably chose to most too many as it.  Just know that there are many more combinations.

Tomorrow I will present the number cards that go with the work.  They will also learn about the comma.

Before the end of the week Kal-El should be starting lessons on the large bead frame.

He was so careful in placing that last little unit cube in front of the ten bar!  I have been doing a lot of work organizing the Montessori elementary math sequences this week.  Tomorrow I am posting about how I organized the primary sequences.  It has been fun to look back now that I have a child finished with it (okay, we have one lingering multiplication board and a couple division boards...but really he's otherwise DONE).  I should have a post up on Wednesday about how I plan to organize the elementary sequences.


  1. These photos are wonderful. I have been thinking about making the hierarchial material but havent tackled it yet. It looks like something my son would enjoy. I love how you made it easy with the boxes.
    We have all of the math albums you listed with the exception of KOTU, can you tell me how KOTU is better/different? I feel like adding more manuals will only make things more overwhelming.

    1. EM,

      Thanks :) I'm glad it wasn't total image overload.

      If you go to the "Elementary" tab at the top of my blog under the header there is a big post on which albums I have, which I use, and why.

      You can read my original KotU review here:

      However, the short answer to your question is....

      Don't add more albums unless you don't have a complete set. (Mid America doesn't count.) If you have a complete set of R&D, you of course are not going to buy a set of KotU albums. It is probably best to have one complete set of good albums.

      Again, all the specifics of what I use when is in the "Elementary" tab, but in this specific case (KotU elementary math vs. CD elementary math) the difference was is the specific scripts for each presentation and the clarity of what should be done when. The CD was a VERY close second. I learned extra things in the material and still sometimes prefer the pictures. I actually keep BOTH of them open to the same presentation side by side on my iPad and look at them both before I do anything. However, I keep picking the KotU scripts.

      The main thing that makes KotU better than all the other elementary choices is that your album purchase includes a mentor...invaluable.

  2. I love the fun pictures! It's always nice when you see the light come on in their eyes before you have to fully explain - or even begin to explain - much about something new :) Looking forward to reading more about your new adventures, as always!

    1. Aww, thanks for making me feel better about the image overload :) Looking forward to SHARING the new adventures.

  3. Great job! You always inspire me!