Friday, November 18, 2011

Sensorial Salvo

NOTE: If you are here looking for the upcoming elementary Montessori album reviews, that series will begin on MONDAY.

Sensorial, sensorial, sensorial was the subject of the day. The boys burned through nearly every item on the sensorial shelves today.

Me Too and I were practicing the violin when Kal-El wandered in with the trinomial cube. He said he had forgotten how to do it and wanted me to show him again. Me Too made do with the binomial. After Kal-El finished the trinomial, Me Too snatched it up (his name is Me Too for a reason).

Kal-El moved on to the knobless cylinders. Me Too was right behind him.

Kal-El pulled the Pythagoras square off the shelf and declared that he was going to show Me Too how to use it to build "people." My blood pressure shot up to 170/140 and I quickly intervened. What I said was, "Remember that many of the things in our school have a purpose and should be played with just any old way. If you want to use shapes to build people use this material over here (I point out the tangram set). They Pythagoras square has very fragile pieces and should be used the right way." What I thought was "Please don't use the Pythagoras square today. We are expecting company in a few hours. It will take forever to show you how to use it and clean it up again. I hate how the pieces don't lay flat. I'm not sure you have the attention span to complete it today. Last time you used it we were missing pieces for a week."

Reading my mind, Kal-El declared that he would like a lesson on the Pythagoras square. Reading Kal-El's mind, Me Too had already taken out the constructive triangles and set them up on the school room table...the only good place to do the Pythagoras square.

We asked him nicely to move his work to a rug. He, being four and ornery, dug in his heels and refused. I, in my efforts to be more of a "yes" Mom than a "no" Mom all the time suggested the kitchen table (which did not work as well as the school room table due to the size of the square and the height of the table).

Well, I'm glad I said "yes." Kal-El loved it. He completed the whole thing and was focused. He was really fascinated with all the relationships he was discovering among the rectangles. He finally learned how to put the blasted thing away properly and everything. He even remembered that he had seen these colors in this order lately and fetched the colored bead bars (show in the front of the next photo).

Speaking of photos, Kal-El asked for the camera when he was done and took the above photo of his finished work himself.

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  1. Nice picture!

    Is this a purchased material or did you make this? I was thinking of making this out of craft foam.

  2. Sheryll,

    I made the constructive triangles out of chipboard which I then spray painted. They feel like the real thing and are very sturdy.

    I purchased my Pythagoras square. I spent two hours trying to make it out of craft foam one day. I was only through 3-4 of the smallest colors and it was just awful looking. I don't think it would have been usable. The cutting is just too imprecise and the foam curls and damages easily.

    Our current square (from Montessori Outlet) stinks. It is precise but the "plastic" feels really like "glossy cardstock." It curls and is so light it almost blows around table.

    If you can cut super accurately, I would recommend chipboard. I wonder if a Cricket machine could be programmed to cut one of these? If you spray the chipboard in many THIN coats the chipboard won't warp and will dry with a nice hard coat of paint.

    If you look in the DIY materials collaboration you'll see them made of felt, etc., I just feel like the point is to make tight squares and I don't think I'd like that easier. But, I'm a little too Type A for my own good.