One of my favorite Montessori math materials is the Golden Bead Material. This manipulative is used for helping children understand place value concepts in a very concrete way. I decided to bite the bullet and purchase some of the bead material since I know that I can use it for many concepts for years to come. I checked around and found that the best prices to be had were from

Caliber Montessori. I ordered 27 unit beads (sold in sets of 9), 2 sets of 10-bars (sold in sets of 9), 2 sets of 100 squares (sold in sets of 9), one thousand cube with golden beads, and a set of wooden thousand cubes (sold in a set of 9). The photos in this post show my youngest son doing 2-digit addition (without regrouping or trading) using the bead material. In addition to purchasing the beads, I printed out some decimal cards. I cannot find the source for the ones I have, but

these small decimal number cards are available from Montessori Print Shop for 99 cents. You can print the large decimal cards there for FREE. It's a bit hard to see in the photo, but the cards are color-coded for place value, tens are blue and units are green. I realize now I should have taken a photo of the whole layout, but I forgot. I'll take one the next time we do this work.

For the work shown in the photos below, my son was solving the problem 42 + 26. This problem was one that I purchased in a set from Montessori for Everyone. First, he had to find the correct decimal cards to represent 42, then show the numeral with the beads. You can see he's done that in the photo below and is getting the beads he needs for 26.

Now the beads and matching decimal cards are laid out to represent the problem. At the far right in the photo you can see the equation card he's working from. That's the one from Montessori for Everyone.

We used a ruler for the "equals" sign. I showed him to put the units together first, count them, and find the large decimal card for the total (8 in this case), then he put the tens together, counted them, and found the correct decimal card (60 in this case). When the cards are stacked, they show the correct answer, 68.

Finally, I had him write the equation on this paper that I downloaded and printed from

Montessori Print Shop (for free!)
This work was fairly easy for him, so our next lesson will be on "dynamic" addition equations which will require regrouping. We'll start with 2-digit, then move to 3 and 4-digit.

Thanks for the link to the paper. My son has been doing some two-digit addition with the golden beads (though, I don't think he's quite ready for dynamic yet). We're also a homeschooling family and we stick with Montessori for math, but not too much else anymore :) (And Story of the World too).

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