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Today, we’re going to highlight on one of our students’ favorite works; the trinomial cube. There’s real beauty behind the intricate details of this mathematical work, details that are hard to notice at first glance.
The child approaches the box with curiosity. It’s elegant details can spark the interest of anyone. Children are inherently captivated by mathematical materials. The colors, the difference is sizes and heights…”Why these specific colors?”, “Why do they fit together like that?”…
While there are many hidden lessons in this puzzle, the child is actively working towards building a concrete foundation for the abstract nature of the formulation, which they will later expand upon. The puzzle helps the child grasp the concept of a+b+c³ at such a young age, rather than simply memorizing the formula.
To begin, the guide carefully opens the box, and lays out all of the pieces, organizing them in different manners. With little, to no words, she places the cubes upon the lid, pairing the colors to one another. Each layer is placed in the box upon completion. The child is then invited to do the work on their own. There are many variations of the trinomial cube that call upon the child’s creativity, imagination and critical thinking.
“These small objects fascinate a child. He must first of all group them according to their color, then arrange them in various ways, making up a kind of little story, in which the three cubes are three kings, each one having a retinue identical to that of the other two, the guards being dressed in black. Many effects can be obtained through the use of this material…when playing with this material, a child forms a visual image of the arrangement of the objects and can thus remember their quantity and order. The sense impressions received from these objects furnish material for the mind. No object is so attractive for four-year-old children. Later on, by calling the kinds a, b, c, and writing the names of the separate pieces according to their dependence upon their own king, five-year-old children, and certainly six-year-olds, can store up in their minds the algebraic formula for the cube of a trinomial without looking at the material, since they have fixed in their visual memory the disposition of the various objects. This gives some idea of the possibilities that can be attained in practice.” (Montessori, The Discovery of the Child)
To see the lesson in full, click on the link below:
Red Rod variations are what make this Sensorial work so enticing. One of our Primary Leads got creative this holiday season, and incorporated festive ribbon as a part of the work, allowing children to match the lengths of the ribbon to the different lengths of the red rods. One particular friend was so excited to show me his work!
Our HBMH friends have been enjoying this week’s Summer Camp theme, “Learning through Sensory Discovery”. With so many options to choose from, they are invited each day to pick and choose which sensorial materials they would like to work with, then given the opportunity to create and manipulate a masterpiece of their own. It is truly amazing to see their creativity unfold as they put their minds (and hands) to work.
Our camp themes were designed to feature creative hands-on activities that build skills, bodies, and excitement. We offer an environment that fits the needs and interests of all our children, incorporating Montessori principles that foster independence and freedom with responsibility. I’m hoping to update our blog all summer long to show the children as they progress through the different themes.
Children use their senses to learn. At a very young age, they have a natural desire to discriminate objects by their similarities and differences, using their visual, auditory, tasting, olfactory (smelling) and tactile abilities. Each sensorial material in the Montessori classroom was designed to better define these abilities, not to mention all of the abstract lessons the child is learning from the same work such as introduction to language, reading, writing, math, and so forth. Children are given the opportunity to exercise their senses through working with different textures, colors, shapes, dimensions, masses, tastes, smells, temperatures, pitches and intensity of sounds. Not only do these works advocate creative expression, but they also promote abstract thinking.
Resources: The Namta Journal, Volume 37, Number 1, Winter 2012