Easy math with Montessori beads

Here’s more on blending right brain and Montessori math. After practising with addition and subtraction using the Hundred Board, Vee is still keen to learn more math. (He chose the math tray from the shelves.) So I’m showing him how to solve similar equations using Montessori math beads.

Some notes:

  • I love Montessori beads because they’re very attractive to work with, and blends nicely with right brain math dots.
  • However, the small beads are choking hazards, so I’ve to keep them away from babies and young toddlers.
  • Vee has been exposed to right brain math from 1 to 5+ years old — flash cards on quantity, addition, multiplication and numerical equations; memorising addition and multiplication facts. That’s why I’ve simplified the presentation in Karen Tyler’s Montessori math album.

Today, Vee has been tasked with solving a list of equations involving 2-digit and 1-digit numbers. Though he can do many of them mentally, I want to give him a concrete experience with quantity by working with beads. This would give him a strong foundation in math.

So how do we do 18 + 6 with beads?

First, get 18 beads, made up of a golden bead ten bar and a brown 8-bead bar.

montessori math beads 18

Then add 6 by getting a lavender 6-bead bar

montessori math beads addition

He already knows that at each place value, the maximum is 9.

Work from right to left, the Montessori math way.

At the units place, 8 + 6 = 14. So he has to exchange 14 for a golden bead ten bar and a yellow 4-bead bar.

Place the ten bars together. Ta daa… the answer is 24!

montessori math beads exchanging

Write down the answer…

montessori math equations

Subtraction was easy with the beads as well.

With the beads, he could also solve addition / subtraction equations in different formats such as:

? + 15 = 19

? – 7 = 23

25 – ? = 20


Of course, I encourage him to image the beads in his mind so that he can work out the answers mentally.


Have fun teaching math!



Related: Where to buy Montessori materials in Singapore & Malaysia

>>> P.S. Check out these upcoming workshops & flash cards*

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