Montessori AMI Primary Guide
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Numbers through Ten
  Number Rods
  Sandpaper Numbers
  Number Rods and Cards
  Spindle Boxes
  Concept of Zero
  Cards and Counters
  Memory Game
Decimal System
  Introduction to quantity
  Formation of Numbers
  Stamp Game
  Dot Game
  Word Problems
Linear & Skip Counting
  Teens: Quanity
  Teens: Symbol
  Tens: Association
  Linear Counting
  Skip Counting
  Number Roll
Tables of Arithmetic
  Addition Snake Game
  Strip Board - exercises
  Addition Strip Board
  Addition Charts
  Substraction Snake Game
  Substraction Strip Board
  Substraction Charts
  Multiplication Bead
  Multiplication Board
  Multiplication Charts
  Unit Division Board
  Division Charts
Passage to Abstraction
  Small Bead Frame
  Wooden Hierarchical Material
  Large Bead Frame
  Racks and Tubes

Number Rods


- Ten rods identical with the Red Rods in length, but divided into red and blue sections. The shortest rod is red. The second is twice the size of the first; one half is painted red and the other half is blue. The third rd is three times the size of the first and is divided into three sections; the first painted red, the second is blue, and the third red. All the other rods are divided in a similar fashion, alternating red and blue, the first section always being red. The number of sections represent the numbers of the rod.
- A floor mat

- Carry and assemble the rod as you would with the Red Rods.
- Do the Three Period Lesson to teach the names, be sure to count the red rods each time.
- Continue through the activities as the child is ready. You must be sure the child understands the quantities before moving on from the naming.
- Some children will be able to do this work in one sitting.
- Be sure to review previous names before moving on to new ones.
- Continue through the series on consecutive days.


Stage A: Naming and Counting

  1. Invite the child to come and work with you. Bring the child over to the Red Rods and discuss with the child how he knows how to use them.
  2. Tell the child that we have other set of rods that are almost like the Red Rods.
  3. Show the child the Number Rods and tell the child that they are almost like the Red Rods except for they are red and blue.
  4. Have the child bring over two mats. Unroll one horizontally and the other vertically. (See diagram)
  5. unroll one mat horizontally 

    unroll the other mat vertically

  6. Have the child bring over each number rod and place them randomly onto the vertical mat.
  7. Sit in front of the horizontal mat.
  8. Ask the child to build the rods as he would with the Red Rods on the horizontal mat.
  9. rods on the horizontal mat 

  10. Point out that we will always start with the red section to the left.
  11. Isolate the first three rods.
  12. Point to rod 1. Say, “This is one.” Count.
  13. Point to the blue on rod 2. Say, “This is two.” Then count.
  14. Point to the red on rid 3. Say “This is three.” Then count.
  15. Repeat this a few times. (This is the 1st Period of the Three Period Lesson.)
  16. Move the rods so they are on the same horizontal line. Do the 2nd Period of the Three Period Lesson.
  17. Do the 3rd Period of the Three Period Lesson.
  18. Ask the child to replace the three rods back with the others.
  19. Take out rods 4, 5, and 6.
  20. Count each section of rod 4
  21. Repeat as you did with the first three rods.
  22. Repeat for rod 7, 8, and 9.
  23. Then repeat with rods 8, 9, and 10.
  24. Depending on the child, this may be taught over a few days.

Stage B: Identification by Name

  1. The Number Rods are in random order on the mat.
  2. The directress sits between the two mats and has the child sit in front of the vertical mat.
  3. The directress asks for a specific number rod, the child chooses it, counts it, and places it on the empty mat.

Stage C: Random Identification by Quantity

  1. The rods are lain out randomly on a mat.
  2. The directress randomly takes a Number Rod, places it in front of the child and asks, “What is this?”
  3. The child counts it, and gives you what Number Rod it is.
  4. Then have the child place it on the empty mat.
  5. Repeat for all of the rods.

Stage D: Identify Rod Randomly

  1. The rods are lain out randomly on a mat.
  2. The child chooses a rod, isolates it on the empty mat and tell the directress what number it is.
  3. Then the child counts to verify.
  4. Repeat for all of the rods.

Stage E: Identify Rod in Order

  1. The rods are in the stair formation.
  2. Point to one rod in the stair formation and have the child say the number of the rod.
  3. Then have the child count it to verify.
  4. Repeat for each rod.


- To experience the qualities of each number and to learn their respective names.
- To show that each number is represented by a single object, as a whole, separate from others.
- To help memorize the sequence of numbers from 1 to 10.

Control of Error
The number of partitions on each rod acts as a guide.

4 years onwards (after the child is competent with the red rods)

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