Directly, they help children develop their visual discrimination. Indirectly, they are preparation for bigger math to come.
The Red Rods are a materialized abstraction in the dimension of length. Montessori is all about moving from concrete to abstract, so accordingly, the Red Rods help a child visually discriminate differences in length, from 10cm to 100cm.
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 his or her own learning.
Visually appealing and engaging, the Pink Tower is a foundational Montessori material from the Sensorial Area of the classroom. The Pink Tower presents the concept of base ten.