Preprimary students are taking mathematics to the “bank”

Just as you might hand a bank teller a check written out for $4,726 and expect cash money equal to that amount in return, New School Montessori preprimary teachers hand students 4 “checks” on nameplates with red painted numbers on them:
 
  • One is written for 4,000 beads,
  • one for 700,
  • another for 20
  • and the last one for 6.

The student serves as the teller and brings back 4 bead blocks of 1,000 each saying, “Here are 4 thousands.” Then she moves on to the next request for 7 hundreds, 2 tens, and finally 6 individual beads to create a bead payout equal to the 4,726 requested. 

Students love using this Montessori material as they develop a concrete understanding of numbers, powers of 10 and decimals. Each time, they experience the thrill that every business person feels when trading an equal measure in beads (or goods and services) for what has been requested by the customer. 

In the photo below, it looks like a customer is closing out her bank account and taking her beads home to bury in the backyard!

 

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