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Entries in Montessori classroom materials (10)


How Many Teeth?

Does anyone know how many primary teeth a child has and how many permanent teeth an adult has? This activity, contributed at the 2012 PNMA Sharing Fair, is a great way to find out, using the Montessori Golden Beads! 


Below is a worksheet that can be used in conjunction with this exercise. Download the full-sized version (by clicking "free downloads" on UMA sidebar on the right), laminate the sheet onto sturdy cardstock, and then provide a dry-erase marker for tracing the dotted letters.

Another great idea...




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!


Practical Life Ideas

On Saturday, April 24th, we participated in the PNMA Spring Sharing Fair at Spring Valley Montessori School in Federal Way, Washington. We will be sharing pictures and demonstration sheets of many creative activities over the next few weeks, but first...some pictures of various general Practical Life materials. It's always fun to see what other Montessorians put on their Practical Life shelves!

Buckle shoes and lace shoes...nailed into a wooden board:



Pouring Lentils:


Small antique coffeepot and cup for pouring:


Tweezing and sorting (by color) tiny beads with tweezers:


Green Rice with measuring spoon and funnel:




Math: Sandpaper Numerals, a 3-period lesson w/ Dominic

Okay, here is another impromptu demonstration with our little friend Dominic. It is Sandpaper Numerals - Math, part 1 with part 2 to follow. Remember, this was done "on the fly" and the first time Dominic had encountered a Montessori Math lesson. Notice how quickly he connects with the materials. He is clearly in the sensitive period for order!


Coming soon: Member Monthly Giveaway!

Beginning April 15th we are offering a Member Monthly Giveaway. Details coming-check back. 
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Practical Life: Cotton Ball Transferring

Here is a fun exercise to place on your Practical Life shelf!

"Cotton Ball Transferring with a Strawberry Huller"

...........................(The little duck is a soap holder with suction cups)........... This is an excellent activity for developing:
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Pincer grip for writing
  • Concentration
  • Order
  • Self confidence
And it looks SO inviting! Thanks Karen Dixon!

Original project by Karen Dixon, UMA graduate

Edited by UMA
©2010, United Montessori Association. All rights reserved.

Practical Life Original Project: Hammering Nails into Play Dough (of Clay)

Lori Wallin, UMA student and teacher at Briarwood Elementary in Bowling Green, KY, shares her Practical Life original project. Enjoy!

Title: Hammering Nails into Play Dough (or Clay)


1. Wooden tray 
2. Child sized hammer
3. Home made Play dough in airtight container with dots on the side to indicate where nails go:
4. Roofing Nails
5. Small basket to hold nails
6. Sponge

Steps in Presentation:

1. Ask child “May I show you Hammering Nails?”
2. Remove tray from shelf with two hands
3. Place tray on table 
4. Pull out chair using two hands
5. Sit in chair
6. Use two hands to pull chair up to the table
7. Point to next chair to indicate where child will sit, left handed children to your right, right handed children to your left.
8. Wait for child to sit
9. Hold container with one hand, pull on lid top with dominate hand to remove the top 
10. Hold the top in two hands and place on the table to the right of the tray 
11. Pick up hammer by placing one hand under the head & the dominate hand around the middle to lower section, and say “hammer”
12. Place hammer back to original position on tray (this action allows the child to feel the weight of the hammer prior to actually using it, with one hand)
13. With dominant hand, point to first dot on left side of container, facing you
14. Point to dot on the immediate right of the first dot and continue pointing from left to right, to the end of the dots
15. Point to first dot on left one more time
16. Using your dominant hand with a pincer grasp, remove one nail directly below the head 
17. Hold the nail by the first dot on the left side of the container to emphasize placement 
18. Place the nail in the play dough in using a pincer grasp matching the first dot on the left on the container and change grasp to non-dominant hand
19. Carefully hammer the nail into the play dough leaving head sticking up slightly for easy removal
20. Repeat with the other nails, moving from left to right across the container in same manner
21. After hammering the last nail, lower the hammer into the open hand while maintaining grip with the dominate hand
22. Replace hammer onto tray in it’s original position using two hands
23. Starting with the left nail point to each nail & the corresponding dot on the container fashion to emphasize nail placement 
24. Place one hand on container to stabilize while using your dominate hand and a pincer grasp remove the left nail by placing two fingers directly below the head & pulling up on the nail
25. Place the nail in the basket
26. Repeat going from left to right until all nails are in the basket, 
27. Using one hand hold on to the container, poke holes left in play dough with the dominate hand to smooth out play dough, moving from left to right 
28. Using a pincer grasp, pick up any play dough that may have fallen from the nails or container & replace it back into the container
29. Using two hands pick up the container lid
30. Flip your hands over to place the lid on the container
31. Hold the container in one hand and use your dominate hand to seal the container
32. If a new child say “Watch where I place The Hammer and Nails on the shelf, so you can find it.”
33. Using two hands scoot chair away from table
34. Stand up
35. Using two hands scoot chair back under table
36. Using two hands pick up tray and replace on shelf

Exercise Variations

1. Use wood board 
2. Use Clay
3. Screws and a screwdriver

Age Level

2 1/2 to 4

Point of Interest

1. Hammer
2. Nails
3. Colored play dough
4. Nails in the play dough

Control of Error

1. Nails sticking up out of play dough 
2. Hammer hitting fingers
3. Arrangement of items when finished
4. Dots on the side of the container
5. Consistency of the play dough to keep nails upright
6. Size of the nail heads for aim with hammer
7. Equal number of nails to dots


1. To increase fine motor skills
2. To increase print directionality from left to right and top to bottom
3. To increase eye-hand coordination
4. To increase respect for the environment by cleaning up when finished
5. Self confidence
6. Independence
7. To learn to use a hammer and nails



10 Apps for Teacher's Record Keeping, Social Networking and more... .

Here are 10 great applications for teacher's record keeping, social networking and more... . Many may not apply for your situation, but worth checking out:

If you like any of them let me know and be sure to comment on it ( see below)


History: Making a Timeline

Paula Whitaker of Redmond, Washington shares her original project of “Timeline for Light.”

Materials needed:
-1 Tray
-1 Worksheet with 4 pictures of lighting, with dotted lines to cut out
-1 Blank sheet with divided lines to paste on the pictures to make a timeline
-1 Glue stick
-1 Control chart with correct sequence



Audio Interview with Lori Bourne of Montessori for Everyone!

UMA's weekly interview is with Lori Bourne of Montessori for Everyone- Creator and seller of high quality materials for the classroom. In this interview, I ask Lori about the genesis of her business and what she has discovered in being a web-based enterprise. Lots of content.

Find them on the web at: