## A Montessori board to teach many different notions in math

The board with nails

Today, I am going to tell you about a board we use in Montessori schools to teach children many different math notions. It also helps the children to handle the abstract part of math. We call it: the board with nails. .

Different colored nails

It is made of a large board with holes and a box of different colored plastic nails put away in compartments:

Green nail = one unit

Blue nail = one dozen

Red nail = one hundred

–     Green for the units,

–      Blue for the dozens,

–      Red for the hundreds,

–     Green for the units of a thousand.

And so on: blue nails for the dozens of thousands, red nails for the hundreds of thousands, green nails for the units of millions, etc…

The sum.

This board is of great help when teaching:

–      The 4 operations,

–      The square of a number,

–      The square root of a number,

–      The factor of a number, common factors with more than one number, and  the biggest common multiple with more than one number.

–      The multiples of numbers and the smallest common multiple with more than one number, which are very important when dealing with fractions,

–      The notion of the prime number.

A multiplication.

This board therefore enables us to cover notions from primary classes to more advanced classes in middle school.

I thought it would be interesting to show you how to use it because it can easily be made at home.

In a second article, I will show you how the operations are done with the board, as well as the square of a number.

In a third article, I will show you how to extract the square roots and in a last article, I will show you how you can teach other notions.

Number 34.

Before these lessons, you must familiarize your child to the use of the board. You have to teach him about the green, blue and red nails. You can tell him:

–      The green nails in the first compartment stand for the units.

–      The blue nails stand for the dozens.

–      The red nails stand for the hundreds.

–      The green nails in the fourth compartment stand for the units of a thousand.

–      As so on…

First lesson::

1. 1. Take out, for example, 3 blue nails and 4 green nails that you set on the board from right to left. You must always place the units first, then the dozens, and so on…
2. 2.2. Place horizontally on the second line from the right side of the top of the board, first 4 green nails, then on the left, attached to the green nails, 3 blue nails and ask the children to tell you what the number on the board is: 34.

Number 401.

Then, you go on, introducing hundreds, thousands, and so on…

One important thing, when introducing the nails that correspond to the units of a thousand (which means using the green nails once more): make sure when placing them near the red nails (thousands) that you leave a free space without a nail between them. That way, your child will visualize the different hierarchies, which are:

The simple units:: composed of units, dozens and hundreds,

The thousands:: composed of units, of dozens and hundreds,

The millions:: composed of units, of dozens and hundreds.

Le Number 534.

This is the step that consists in going from concrete to abstract.

Second lesson:

Then you can do the contrary: ask your child to create, with the nails, the number 348. Then 2 531, etc… and so on until you are sure that he knows the corresponding color to the units, the dozens, the hundreds… and until he places the nails correctly on the board.

Number 2 421.

When this step is fully assimilated by your child, you will be ready to introduce the operations.

Sylvie d’Esclaibes