Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Math materials III - Checkers board

The checkerboard belongs to the Montessori elementary material, and is aimed at children in the 6-9 classroom. Its main focus is on long multiplication.

We have just introduced it in our home, and it was a big success.

Here is a video of how to use the board that I found quite useful:

My DIY version is made using very simple materials, namely felt and adhesive felt, also known as presto felt.

I bough mine at Joanne's but I am sure Michaels and other crafts stores have it too.They come in individual 8" x 11" sheets, so you can buy exactly what you need for a few dollars.

Basically I cut a 22" by 11" rectangle of blue felt,  which doubles as a base and the blue squares in the board. After that I cut 12 green squares and 12 red squares, all measuring 2 1/4" x 2 1/4" in presto felt.

Using a picture as a model, I simply stuck them in order. Although not absolutely necessary, I use think strips of black presto felt to make a border around the board. Finally, I wrote the numbers corresponding to each column and row with a Sharpie.

Here is a graphic representation of how the board should look like:

This is our version:

An added benefit of the felt is that the beads do not roll on it so easily, so it helps the child keep everything in place, especially in very long multiplications.

As you have probably noticed, my beads do not follow the same color code as the original Montessori materials, but they were what I could get at the time I made them, and we have been using them successfully for five years now. :)