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Montessori Numbers for Kids
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.
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.