During the Second Plane (6 to 12 years), children usually enjoy more challenge and variety in their work choices. They are often inspired by work that other children are doing and are keen to move onto abstraction of mathematical concepts. However, it is important that children are able to consolidate learning, otherwise they could miss out on fundamental building blocks and end up with 'gaps' in their understanding.
Learning basic addition and subtraction facts, identifying fractions, and practising times tables help students to use their working memory on solving more complicated mathematical problems rather than spending valuable mental energy on these operations. However, since children in the Second Plane are less enamoured with repetition, how can these skills be practised whilst still keeping students engaged?
I have found that variety is the spice of life in our classroom. Students complete a number of different mathematical tasks which offer challenge but also include valuable practise of skills. Here are some examples:
|Addition Snake Game|
This student is adding and exchanging coloured beads for bars of ten golden beads. Later he is shown how to check his answer by laying the coloured beads next to the golden beads. The student starts to see combinations which add up to ten.
Other students have been introduced to ratio. They started off comparing different ratios using coloured play dough and coloured water.
|Mixing blue and yellow coloured water in different ratios|
Later, students were ready to apply their knowledge to solving ratio problems. The challenge of this work keeps students engaged but all the while they are practising multiplication and division facts as well as refining their fraction knowledge.
Each week we have two different levels of math challenges. Here two students are solving the following word problem using drawings:
These math challenges provide engagement for the children as well as opportunities to reinforce multiplication and division facts and fraction knowledge. The Montessori classroom offers children the gift of time to explore and understand different mathematical concepts without being rushed off to the next task.
|Using drawings to solve ratio problems|
|Solving the math challenge|
There are numerous other ways children can reinforce mathematical learning in our classroom. Playing games with other children, observing others working, returning to familiar equipment, etc. Maths is fun and engaging in our classroom!
|Practising doubles facts|
|Using the checkerboard to reinforce learning times tables|