Number Rods

May 18, 2016
Introducing the Number Rods from the Math area of the Montessori classroom!

These rods may seem familiar to you, and they should if you’ve ever seen the Red Rods. They are exactly the same except for one feature: alternating blue and red segments.

The child will typically work with the Number Rods after mastering the Red Rods. If you recall, the Red Rods help establish visual discrimination of length. The Number Rods are a natural progression, naming the quantity shown on each number rod with red and blue demarcations. Let’s see how it works!

Along with a guide the first time, the child will build the Number Rods just like they practiced with the Red Rods. The guide will be sure to point out that the red segment is always on the left side. From here, the child will practice naming and counting the Number Rods, starting with one.

It’s important to note that the child is not necessarily memorizing 1-10 in that order, or reciting numbers, but rather establishing that each quantity is a separate entity. For example, 2 is not 2 because it’s the second in line, but rather because it has two sections.

Using the 3 Period Lesson, the child and guide will name and count each Number Rod, typically separating them into four groups: 1-3, 4-6, 7-9, 8-10.

After the child is comfortable associating the number rods with a quantity, some Montessori classrooms use the Number Cards to introduce a symbol. At this point, the child will have progressed from visually discriminating lengths with the Red Rods, to counting each segment and giving a name to each Number Rod, to establishing that each quantity has a symbol to represent it in the form of a number!

The Number Rods are a great way for the child to gain a concrete understanding of the differences of quantity. This foundation will serve them in every math activity they attempt moving forward!

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