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Math & The Isolation of Stimulus

Alexandra Sanna, UMA student from Rome, Italy, shares her original Math project. Come follow us on this wonderful Montessori journey of discovery and transformation with us!  

Photo #1:


  • Above (#1)...A plastic tray to hold the materials, a basket to hold the colored beads - 1 red, 2 green, 3 orange, 4 yellow, 5 blue, and a cardboard box to hold five colored block with dowels - red, green, orange, yellow, blue

Suggested changes: Provide a non-plastic tray (natural materials always preferred), non-cardboard box (needs to be sturdier material), reverse position of basket and box (so movement is L to R).   

Photo #2:

  • Above (#2)...Colored blocks are arranged in "numerical" order with the goal of matching the color of the bead(s) to the blocks. The number cards are placed underneath and, as a "control of error," turned over to reveal the matching bead color.

Suggested changes: Make a stand to hold the blocks in place. Rotate the cards so that the dots are vertical, rather than horizontal for visual accuracy. 


(1) The main purpose of this Math activity is to determine the sequence of quantity (1-5), rather than match the colors. Although the different colors allow for an additional "control of error," it is better to make all the colors the same.

(2) The beads are different shapes. Make them all the same, again, for visual accuracy when viewing the quantities side by side.

 Photo #3: 

  • Above (#3)...The plastic tray has been removed, the colored blocks with dowels have been replaced with a natural colored wooden stand without color coding, and the colored, multi-shaped beads are now all the same (blue and round).

Photo #4:

  •  Above (#4)...How visually appealing and easy to see the increase of quantity in equal increments, due to the isolation of stimulus. On the back of the dotted cards, there are corresponding numerals. Either side may be used, depending upon the age and ability of the child. 

Suggestion: Line up the dots on the cards in single verticle rows to match the beads on the dowels, rather than by two's. 


Alexandra Sanna, per our suggestion, did not let the original project go to waste! She has made a color-matching exercise with an equal number of beads on each color-coded dowel on its color-coded stand. This is now on her Sensorial shelf.

Thank you, Alexandra, for sharing your journey with the Montessori community. Beautiful job!

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