How To Use The Montessori Multiplication Bead Board

A few days ago we posted about a great economical alternative to the traditional wooden Montessori Multiplication Bead Board. The traditional board looks like this:

Traditional Montessori Multiplication Bead Board

But for a fraction of the cost you can give your child the same hands on, concrete, mathematical experience with this homemade solution:

Alternative to the Traditional Montessori Multiplication Bead Board
Credit: Starry Sky Ranch

It's a bath mat, with suction cups on the bottom, turned upside down! It's cut so that it has 100 suction cups on it (10 suction cups across, and 10 suction cups down).  A fine tip sharpie is used to write the numbers 1-10 across the top. Make sure when you choose your bath math that the suction cups aren't too large, and most importantly are in straight lines and not diagonal. If they are diagonal, you'll have to rotate the bath mat to make them straight - the bath mat must then be large enough for you to cut it 10 suction cups by 10 suction cups.

A bath mat with suction cups can be used as a Montessori Multiplication Bead Board!

Add some pony beads (or dried beans), a few slips of paper, perhaps a coin for the red counter, and you have the Montessori Multiplication Bead Board!

After publishing the post we received so many emails with questions on how to use the Multiplication Bead Board. So, here are the full instructions from our Primary Math Teaching Manual. The instructions are written for the use of the traditional wooden Multiplication Bead Board - so you'll have to adjust the instructions accordingly to suit your new homemade (bath mat) Multiplication Bead Board.

Materials:
•    Perforated board with 100 holes in rows of ten. On the left side of the board there is a little window with a slot for the insertion of a number card. Set of number cards 1 to 10, a counter, 100 red beads. Multiplication table forms, pencil and paper. Multiplication Control Charts 1 & 2.

Presentation #1:
• with the child take the materials to the table
• ask the child to choose a page from the Multiplication Booklet (i.e. #6)
• tell the child that the numbers across the top are for the multiplier; the slot in the left side of the board is for the multiplicand (the first # of the question)
• remove the red circle from the container and place it in to the circle at the top left of the board
• ask the child what the first question is, "6x1", "What is the multiplicand?" child replies "6"
• take from the small container the #6 and slide it in the slot on the left side of the board
• ask the child "What is the multiplier?" - the child replies "1"
• take the red circle from the top left corner and place it above the #1 at the top of the board
• taking the beads from the small container place 6 red beads in to the column below the number 1 (counting as you place them: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
• ask the child "How many beads are there?" child replies "6", have him write the answer in the booklet
• ask the child "What is the next question?" child replies "6x2", move the red circle over the number two at the top of the board
point to the last bead you placed on the board and say "6" (a reminder of where you finished off from the 6x1)
• place a bead in the first hole below number 2, say "7", place the next bead and say "8", place the next bead and say "9", place the next bead and say "10", place the next bead and say "11", place the next bead and say "12"
• ask the child "How many beads are there?" - child replies "12"
• have the child  write the answer in the booklet
• ask the child "What is the next question?" child replies "6x3"
• move the red circle over the number 3 at the top of the board
point to the last bead you placed on the board and say "12"
• place a bead in the first hole below #3 and say "13", place another bead and say "14", place a bead and say "15" - continue placing each bead and saying each number until you reach 18
• ask  the child "How many beads are there?" child replies "18", have the child write the answer 18 in to the booklet

Presentation #1 in progress
Presentation of the Montessori Multiplication Bead Board

• allow the child to continue on until the page is complete
• have the child choose another multiple table - take the ticket for the multiplicand and slide it in to the slot, place the red circle in to the hole in the top left corner of the board
• show the child the first two questions and then allow him to continue on his own
• show the child Control Chart #1, tell him that he can use it to check his work


Exercise #1:
• same as in Presentation #1

Notes:
• control chart #1 lists all multiplication tables from 1-10
• control chart #2 lists all multiplication tables from 1-10, but removes all duplications (i.e. shows 5x7=35, but does not show 7x5=35)

Purpose:
• memorization of multiplication tables

Control of Error:
• control chart #1

Age:
• 5 – 6 years

The Multiplication Charts that accompany this work can be found here (they are printable) and come with full presentation instructions.



It's recommended to use the Sequential Math Booklets first (regular, large).

Sequential Order Math Booklets for the Montessori Math Operations Materials.

Once the child has discovered the number patterns for each operation you can switch to the Random Math Booklets (regular, large) for a greater challenge.

Random Math Booklets for Montessori Operational Math Materials.

We hope that helps you to get started on your own homemade Multiplication Bead Board. This bathmat substitution is a fantastic solution to an expensive math material. It's a wonderful way for your children to get the sensorial impression of multiplication. Multiplication is simply taking the same number two or more times and adding them together.

 
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