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Montessori Math: Counters and Numbers

COUNTERS AND NUMBERS are great to do with a child who is 4 1/2 and up, after they have been introduced to the sandpaper numbers and can put them in order from one to nine.

Language: Odd and Even

Control of Error: Too many or too few counters for the last number

Indirect Aim: Mathematics

Direct Aim: To make the child aware of odd and even

Material: A box divided into two compartments, one containing red plastic numerals 1-10, the other compartment containing corresponding numbers of red disks called counters. You can make your own using buttons or pennies, and plastic numbers.


1. Do on a mat. Take out the numbers. "All right, now could you line the numbers up for me? What is the first number?" "One." Let the child line up the numbers. Tell him to leave a nice space between the

2. "All right, what does this number say?" "One." "So it gets 1 counter." "What does this number say?" "Two." "So, it gets 2 counters." Each time place the counters below the number in rows of two, with any
odd counter placed in the middle of the row. Continue through to 10.

3. Next, take your pencil and place it in between the two counters for 2. "Does this fit?" "Yes." Try to place your pencil between the counters for 3. "Does this fit?" "No." "Four?" "Yes." " Five?" "No."
Continue. Ask the child if he would like to place the pencil between the counters.

4. "Now, the numbers where we can put the pencil in between the counters are called even numbers; and the numbers where we cannot put the pencil through the counters are called odd numbers."

5. "One is an odd number, we'll leave it up here. Two is an even number, we will leave it down there. Three is an odd number, we'll leave it up here, etc."

6. "Now can you tell me which are the odd numbers?" "One, three, five, seven, and nine." "Which numbers are the even numbers?" "Two, four, six, eight, and ten."

7. Later on, only if there is interest, you may ask, "how many two's are there in two?" "One." Separate the groups of two with you pencil. "How many groups of two are there in four?" "Two
twos." Etc.


You may also be interested in my Montessori and homeschool programs for birth to nine-year-olds at Montessori for the Earth.

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