First, let’s take a look at the physical aspects of the material. There are two equal-sized boxes, one with a red lid and one with a blue lid. They sit next to each other on the shelf of the Montessori classroom, and the child will carry them one by one to a table of their choice.
The red box contains 6 cylinders with red tops, and the blue box, of course, contains 6 cylinders with blue tops. The cylinders contain materials that, when shaken, make sounds varying from very soft to very loud. Each red cylinder has a corresponding blue cylinder. The child’s task is to match them!
The child matches them by isolating one red cylinder on the left hand side that they want to match. They shake the red cylinder close to their ear, listening intently for how soft or loud it is. Next, they take the blue cylinder closest to them, shake and listen, and determine if it is the same as their chosen red cylinder. If it is not, they set it off to the side, and try the next blue cylinder. If it does match, they can set the red cylinder and matching blue cylinder in between the boxes, indicating they have found a match.
They repeat the process until all red cylinders have a matching blue cylinder, lined up neatly on the table. The child can then do a final check, to see if they are satisfied with their work.
This Montessori material helps a child refine his or her auditory senses in a controlled and engaging way. The material ‘isolates one difficulty’ by making the cylinders identical to each other, except for the sound they make when shaken, ultimately practicing sound discrimination.
The set of 4 Cylinder Blocks are a Sensorial material in the Montessori classroom, exploring different dimensions, including differing heights and diameters of cylinders.