Monday, March 31, 2014

Montessori-inspired DIY Weight Cylinders

If you love Montessori manipulatives, but can't afford the price-tag, try this easy DIY version of the Montessori Weight Cylinders using empty Play-Doh containers and dry beans.  Here's what we did for this little sensory / math activity...

At first, I had the kids count out a certain number of beans into each container.  Then I was worried that the difference in weight (2 beans difference) would not be significant enough to identify without the scale, so we over using a certain number of tablespoons of beans into each container.  Each twin had her own five containers to fill.

If you want to create Montessori-style weight cylinders, set up pairs of containers with the same amount in each, so they could be matched up.  I just wanted the kids to put the containers in order of weight, so the girls filled the containers with different amounts of beans.

Once the lids were on and the containers were mixed up, the twins had to feel the weight of the containers in their hands to place them in order.  This was actually harder for the girls than I thought it would be and it was interesting watching them come up with an algorithm for ordering the containers since they can only feel two of them in their hands at a time.

We used a scale to verify that the order was correct.  The kids really enjoyed doing some experiments with this scale afterwards (like adding beans to a light container to get it to balance with a heavier one). 

This was such a fun and easy math activity, and all made with things we already had around the house!

Of course I can't take all the credit for teaching H how to read... the twins (4 years old) love to "play teacher" and work with him on letter sounds, CVC words, along with math and other subjects.  E's favorite classroom setting is making H a desk of pillows in the master bathroom and then writing words for him to read on the mirror using soap.  In this video I encouraged her to use some letter magnets instead..

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