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The decimal system

So I laid out the decimal system materials per Maggie’s request to play the fetch fame with the beaded material & wooden blocks.   The idea is you give the child the symbolic numerical quantity & they match the physical materials to it.  Eventually after thousands, hundreds & tens, units are fetched you can lay them out together & see your number right there in front of you.  I love this concept.  It’s similar to talking about money and being able to see the money you’re talking about while you’re talking about it vs. just talking about it.  It allows you to analyze what you are representing with symbols & understand it.  Feel it’s weight and it’s worth in difference.


The checkerboard beads are nearly always present because Lily is in love with the hanging bead stair.  She likes working with the colored beads as opposed to the golden units. That is fine by me as it is explaining exchanging one object for another that represents the other and she will use this with math.  I am careful to pull the appropriate quantity of beads that represent the golden beads and put them in a cup while she gathers the colored bead stair representation.  She counts them out as well.  She just prefers to use both.  She quite often will ask for the hanging bead stair when we do math as an activity to switch to between turns in problem solving with math.  I feel now that she has the fine motor skills to put the beads on the hooks it is relaxing for her to continue through while working on harder projects.  It keeps her focused and seated and listening to the work she is doing even when she’s taking a break from doing it.  So I make it available or get it when she asks for it.  Maggie loves this game and enjoys seeing the finished project once a number has been formed that she has built.  I brought out the small bead frame but we didn’t get to it.  The sandpaper numbers were out to practice writing skills that we will add to language & writing now instead.

I brought out the introduction to the decimal system tray to go over the names of the pieces with the girls before we got started.   We also looked & talked about the symbols  1000, 100, 10, and 1.  Above you see Maggie counting how many tens make up one hundred & Lily holding the thousand cube to feel it’s weight.

Maggie is getting ready to get 2 thousands to start building our first number while Lily feels the hundred square while waiting her turn.

Maggie returns with 2 thousands.  Lily works on 4 hundreds.

Maggie looks for 8 tens.  I loved in this example and I noticed it while photographing it, that Maggie chose 9 tens instead of 8 to begin with.  After checking her work she threw one back in the box.   I was proud to note she checked. She did this before I could lay out her work as we were counting the quantities together after fetching to verify and put the number together.

Lily returns and checks her 8 units.

Lily admires the completed number.

Maggie looks at the completed number & double checks the unit count.

After some time with the above Lily requested the hanging bead stair.  When she finished 1-9 that she asked for 11-19.  We always have the same conversation about 10 & 20 not being on the hanging bead stair.  It really bothers her.  We lay out the ten tile and bead bar and the twenty but she’s still bothered you can tell.  I didn’t make the materials but I’d love to modify them just to make her happy.  Lol.

The focus Lily has on hanging these is incredible.

Maggie and I continued onto a new number while Lily had her time with the hanging bead stair.

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