The hanging bead stair is fun for both girls now. Especially now that Lily can get the beads on & off the hooks on the hanging stair, it feels extra special for her to accomplish both math concepts and fine motor skills all in one. Maggie is getting fast and memorizing color patterns of beads without referring to charts making counting faster, but she is also counting each individual bead to check her work as if one might sneak away while the others are being counted. I love how she checks her work.

We started out with addition using mostly visuals. The girls knew their symbols of numbers to match with the visuals as well before we started. But we began with laminated worksheets with bead patterns only and the symbols of addition (plus sign) & the equals sign. This gave the girls time to grasp what those signs meant. That was the focus the first few times these materials were laid out. On the worksheet, once the answer was learned by building the same problem with manipulatives on the table, we would write the answer only in numeric values.

I have pulled out the addition box and started using the equations. Going backwards for comparison I had maggie pull out a math problem example: 1+2= She then laid out her visuals (the bead stair) to match her problem. She solved it and found the corresponding number symbol to equal the math problem. She has learned to do math problems reading the numeric values of the symbols and translating it into something you can feel to count, making it more real and easy to solve.

Lily & Maggie build the hanging bead stair. Lily has dramatically changed with her fine motor skills since using the hanging bead stair.

Maggie working on a math problem in numeric value above. She starts with the equation, then builds it with her beads. After solving it she finds the answer in numeric symbols.

Lily works on the hanging bead stair 11-19 after finishing 1-9. Lily did this twice. After the first time she re set it then did it again.

Maggie works in the hanging bead stair.

After the first time around Lily repeated the activity lining them up this time.

Above pictured you can see Maggie working on cards that represent what equals what. So the five bead bar and three bead bar together equal seven. They are the same together (and this helps to introduce exchanging numbers/bead bars later). You look at the image on one side, decide what it equals, lay out your answer and flip the card to see if you are correct.

When presented with with the same cards as Maggie (what equals what) Lily took very little time to understand what the card was implying to do. She immediately went to adding then stopped when she didn’t see the addition sign. She looked up at me. Then continued adding the numbers until she got her answer, then correctly choosing the bead bar she placed it after the equal sign & proceeded to read it out loud. I’m impressed.