Saturday, August 29, 2009

Montessori Materials: Need Advice

I have just gone through my comprehensive lists from Montessori for Everyone and the Gettman book and made a list of which materials I want to put on the shelves when we resume a more more formal school schedule next week. I also made a list as I went through the Gettman of any materials we don't own that we might get to during this school year. Unfortunately for my pocket book it looks like we need maps, a botany cabinet, a trinomial cube, constructive triangles, the square of Pythagoras, and a moveable alphabet.

I am confused about the constructive triangles. I have seen this sold as one box of blue triangles, a set of three boxes, and a set of five boxes. Which one do I need? Also, is this a material I should be making myself?

I am also confused about the square of Pythagoras. I'm not sure I've seen what Gettman describes being sold in my usual haunts. I have seen a "Pythagoras board" that comes with a set of 100 white, numbered tiles. Gettman describes the Pythagoras square as a box with ten compartments, each holding a set of plastic tiles of a particular color. Has anyone seen any examples? Again, should I be making this material myself?

I find it a bit odd that I haven't seen this materials in use on any of the 140+ blogs in my reader. Are these materials part of the standard sequence?



  1. Here is what I did.

    The blue set only is part of this whole set...I think!

  2. How did you like the comprehensive lists?
    Did you get the toddler & 3-6 one?
    I have been thinking about getting them.
    I really enjoyed the Gettman book too!

  3. The constructive triangles are a series of works that use triangles. It should progress in the following order: Rectangular Box, Blue Triangles, Triangular Box, Small Hexagonal Box, Large Hexagonal Box, Blue Right Angled Scalene Triangles. If you are confused about which is which, email me, and I can point you in the right direction :)

    Also, the square of Pythagoras is also referred to as the Decanomial Square. In theory, this material could be made. However, you really need that non-laminated plastic in order for the child to actually use it. It needs to be really precise in order for it to work. Also, the square board that they usually sell with it also needs to be covered in some sort of cloth so that the pieces are easy to move. With all of this rambling, I can also tell you that this is one of the materials that I do not have in my room, nor will I be making.

  4. Shannon-THANK YOU!

    I am going to make the constructive triangles myself and already have a membership to JMJ Publishing that includes access to the file you mentioned. I didn't think of it!

    Montessori Moments

    The comprehensive lists are not necessary if you already have the Gettman. Some of the Yahoo groups have free files you can use that have the Gettman sequence in a record-keeping form you can just print out. That said, I bought the lists anyway. I like them a lot. I wish they were better in sequence, but I suppose that is not such a big deal. They include a lot of little things that I see everyone doing on blogs that are not in the Gettman sequence and include things such as skipping, hopping on one foot, tonging, etc.,
    I printed a set for each child and laminated them. I have both the toddler and the 3-6.

    P.S. Montessori:

    Thanks again for your continuing help! You are a lifesaver! I think I am going to try to make the constructive triangles..all five boxes. Thank you for helping with the order.

    Based on your advice I will buy the Square of Pythagoras if I can find it (which I should be able to with alternate name you gave). However, I guess you didn't convince me that I NEED it, LOL! Anyone have any opinions on the dire consequences of skipping this material?

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  5. I didn't come across the square of pythagoras in my training and we don't have it at school. Out of everything in your list I would say the top two are the movable alphabet and the trinomial cube!

  6. Funny - I'm planning on making constructive triangles soon and had already bookmarked Shannon's blog post! I just bought the foam for them this weekend.

  7. Update: I just found instructions on making the Square of Pythagoras (Decanomial Square) on the blog the Learning Ark. It showed up in my Google Reader search once I knew to try the other name for it. I might make a couple of squares and see if it is too slippery as P.S. Montessori warned. I haven't found anyplace that sells it yet (although I haven't searched extensively).

  8. Wow! If you make the decanomial square, I just may be inspired to try it myself!

  9. The constructive triangles comes in a set of 5 boxes, once these are completed you present the blue constructive triangles with the work cards.
    The Pythagoras squares you can purchase through
    Let me know if you need the workcards for the blue triangles or instructions on how to use the pythagoras squares. this is difficult to find, your site has been helpful to me, so perhaps I can give back.

  10. Thank you Zsuzsa! I will let you know once I get a little further along. I really appreciate the help.

  11. Hi - the pythagoras board (a red board, with white number tiles) is more abstract (showing the numerals) than the table of pythagoras, which demonstrates with concrete materials (either the bead bars or wooden cubes and bars) the multiplication tables up to 10 x 10. The blue triangles and the five boxes of constructive triangles can be made - I bought the ones I use now, but in past have cut them out of colored cutting boards, marked with sharpie pen on the edges to be lined up, it worked well as they slide easily and do not bend. Good luck!