Review by Dana Villamagna, Common Sense Education | Updated August 2012

# Montessori Numbers - Math Activities for Kids

Good, interactive math practice with beautiful design and cool animations

Subjects & skills
• Math

##### Skills
• Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
Pre-K–2
Common Sense says
Teachers say

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Pros: Lots of visuals help kids conceptualize numbers in concrete ways.

Cons: Some activities may not appeal to kids who are motivated by end goals and point rewards.

Bottom Line: Montessori Numbers is a great way to expose kids to math in a meaningful way.

Teachers may want to consider introducing Montessori Numbers to a small group or in a full-class lesson before setting kids to work solo.

The activities require a bit of self-motivation as they present basic tasks, but no goals. Kids who are not familiar with the rods and blocks may need further guidance before they understand the system. Teachers may also want to supplement with concrete items to represent the individual objects students are working with onscreen; anything from small crackers to buttons will do.  For solo student play, the Tracing and Building activities may be especially easy to catch on to, encouraging kids to play often for excellent practice on number writing and free play with numbers.

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Montessori Numbers is a set of five math-related activities that follow the Montessori method. Maria Montessori's hands-on approach ("What the hand does, the mind remembers") is definitely incorporated. The app includes counting, block manipulation, stacking, number cards, and number matching. There's also a fun, engaging tracing activity for teaching kids the proper way to write numbers zero to nine while encouraging them to practice many times as they see the impressive, visually animated results of their work. Teachers can set the number range that kids can work with, as zero to nine, 10 to 99, or 100 to 999. Many Common Core standards are addressed directly or indirectly, including Counting & Cardinality, Operations and Algebraic Thinking, Number & Operations in Base Ten, and place value.

Montessori Numbers does an excellent job of taking one specific set of Montessori tools -- the blocks and number rods -- and incorporating them into an app. The rods can be changed from basic wooden blocks to cupcakes, cars, flowers, diamonds, and more, adding to the fun. Reinforcement of number names and counting occurs throughout visually and via voice recording; you may want to encourage students to count along. On the downside, there's no student user tracking. Also, this app may not appeal to every student, especially those who prefer working toward an end goal, such as completing a level or earning points or stickers.

Montessori Numbers provides many opportunities for young students to play with numbers in ways that bring abstract numeric ideas to concrete objects, even via an iPad screen. This is a real digital translation of a hands-on method, and classrooms that don't already have access to many sets of Montessori materials will benefit.

##### Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Highly engaging, as long as kids aren't looking for points or other overt rewards. For example, the "rewards" on the numbers tracing game are bright colorful animated graphics that appear as kids trace the lines.

##### Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Montessori Numbers uses visuals to represent numbers (and digits to represent the visuals), audio reinforcement, interaction, and lots of customizing choices to help kids learn.

##### Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

An excellent Parent Page provides explanations of the activities and background of Montessori method, as well as best-use advice. Pronunciations are given for numbers 0-1009 in American, British, or Australian accents.

Common Sense Reviewer
Dana Villamagna Classroom teacher

#### Teacher Reviews

Featured review by
Colleen M. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Lakeshore Elementary School
Holland, United States
Good basic program for number sense!
I like using this for my students that are struggling with number sense and identification. I like how much of the app is voiced over so students do not need to know how to read in order to be successful with the app. I don't like that students have the option to "play" a game after every correct answer. I would prefer that they have to work towards a reward. I could foresee some students doing more playing than working. With close monitoring and specific instructions I could see this being a very helpful app for students that are struggling with number sense.
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