Every activity in Intro to Math is designed to allow your child the choice and freedom to follow their interests. All six activities are available from the very first time you open the app. That means there are no barriers, such as in-app purchases or ‘earning’ a new activity, between your child and the engaging and beautifully designed math materials of the Montessori classroom.
We’d love to explore the materials further, comparing their physical properties in the classroom alongside the activity in the app. Let’s get started!
In the Montessori primary classroom, the first activity that typically engages children is the Sandpaper Numerals. So too, in Intro to Math on the iPad or iPhone. Starting as early as age 3, these sandpaper figures set on a green background allow children to trace, feel, and pronounce numbers 0 through 9.
A child first begins by tracing the figure and saying the number. As they become comfortable with the shape and characteristics of each number, they might progress to writing on a chalkboard, which then leads to writing numbers on paper. Addition is soon to follow, but it all starts with the basics.
In the app
Let’s take a look at the tracing activity on the screen:
The best part about the touch screen is that it so closely mimics the Sandpaper Letters in the classroom. Including a sandpaper sound effect, the arrow guides the child in the right direction, much like a teacher would.
The Red Rods are a great way for children to learn the tangible units that correspond to counting. Maria Montessori is all about moving from concrete to abstract, so accordingly, the Red Rods are the physical representation of numbers.
In the classroom, the material is displayed on a shelf, in order, from shortest to longest, or 10 centimeters to 100 centimeters. A child carefully takes all the pieces, one by one, and places them randomly on a floor mat. The child can then place them back in order, appreciating the different lengths. To know whether or not they’ve got them in the right order, the child can take the smallest 10cm piece and move it to the right of the next longest piece. If that piece is then aligned with the piece above it, you know it’s in the right spot!
This visual affirmation means the child doesn’t need confirmation from a parent or teacher, but rather is in charge of their own learning.
Let’s explore the Red Rods further in the app.
The Number Rods differ from the Red Rods only in their color. Instead of a solid red, the Number Rods feature a pattern of red and blue units alternating every 10 cm. The smallest rod is red, the second is red then blue, and so on, all the way to 10! When arranging the pieces on a floor mat, the teacher points out that the red end is always aligned to the left.
The presentation continues with naming the numbers, much like the voiceover in the app. “This is three. Let’s count, 1, 2, 3.”
In the app:
The voiceover demonstrates how to tap and count the units, then gently guides, “Now it’s your turn.” After naming and counting all the rods, it’s time to place them in order. Shake the device to mix up the pieces, and enjoy the playful marimba tones as the pieces pop into place.
Card and Counters
The Cards and Counters material is housed in a rectangular box, including cards with numbers 1-10, and 55 red circular ‘counters’. In the classroom, a child takes this material to a floor mat, arranges the numbers in order, and begins counting by placing the appropriate numbers of red counters beneath the number cards.
A secondary goal of this activity is to provide visual feedback of the difference between even and odd numbers. For this reason, there is a very specific way the counters should be placed, which we can touch on further in the app.
In the app:
Let’s get counting! The first activity is to put the number ‘cards’ in order.
Next, the red counters are displayed in a tray, ready to be called upon. If needed, the gray circle is a reminder of where the counter goes. As we mentioned in the classroom example, odd numbers are identified by the structure of the counters. For three, the odd counter comes beneath the two in a row. In the case of five, counters are arranged with two rows of two, plus a fifth centered below them.
If you’re interested in having your child explore Intro to Math, you can download now by following the links below. We hope you enjoy!