A few weeks ago, I was looking for something different to introduce, and decided that it was time to finally finish the decimal system!
I know… I know… this is probably going to be a shock to many of my Montessori friends, but I did not finish teaching Aikman place value before moving on to addition. I had introduced the hundreds, but nothing higher. He was also extremely confident in building and reading 2 digits numbers, but that was it. Give him a 3 digit number that was not 300 or 400, and he was clueless.
Now, please understand, it wasn’t because he didn’t want to learn about them or have interest in them…. it was more that I was afraid of HOW to teach them, and once they were mastered, where to go next. So, instead of teaching place value, I switched gears to addition and skipcounting – something I was more familiar with!
Well, I finally felt this particular day was THE day to teach reading larger numbers. I pulled out our number cards, laid them out (albeit backwards now that I am looking at these pictures – whoops, guess that was my fault for sitting on the opposite side of the table from him!)
We pulled out our MUS blocks (recall that he doesn’t like the bead bars), and starting building numbers – primarily the “Go Fetch” game, but he quickly transitioned away from the blocks and just wanted to learn how to read the numbers. I guess since he already understands how to read 2 digit numbers and has had built many, many numbers in the past, he is moving from the concrete to the abstract.
After building and reading numbers from our deck of number cards, he began cleaning them up and putting them all back into place. During this process, he suddenly realized that he could put the largest number cards together ~ 900, 90, 9 = 999. Upon being proud of himself for reading this large number, I asked if he knew what the next number was after 999. He, of course, said no, and so off we went to build 999 with our blocks, add 1 more unit to it, and then play the exchange game to discover what the next number would be. 1000!
I was planning on waiting to introduce the thousand cards for another day, but this immediately led into another number reading frenzy with all of our number cards.
Then Dad threw in a “trick” question and asked if he knew what 2006 was (Aikman’s birth year). He was a little intrigued that it did not have all of the cards in place. After breaking it down into its individual cards (2000 and 6), he was so excited that he could read this number with no problem… and off he went into creating numbers with a 0 place holder.
For those following along with our journey, I definitely would not recommend combining all of this work into one lesson, as what happened to us on this afternoon. This is actually more like 3 different lessons, and should be typically broken up into smaller chucks for the child to explore and practice with shelf work.