The Binomial Cube


Binomial Cube: The binomial cube is a staple of Montessori classrooms. But, what exactly is it? It looks like a fun puzzle, and it is, but what's the logic behind the blue, black and red wooden pieces? Let's find out.

Materials: Eight wooden blocks and rectangular prisms form a cube, the formula of which is: (a + b)3.

Aim: To build the cube; discriminating size, shape and color.

Results: Preparation for algebra, proof of the formula (a + b)3, and instruction for cubed roots.

Observations: Watch as the binomial cube is built: with the dexterous hands of a future architect; or, the mind of an engineer, calculating his next move; or, perhaps, the gentle descriptions of a poet just starting to engage the world. In many ways, the process of constructing a binomial cube is like a bird, building a nest.

Montessori Polishing Activity

Watch, as this three year old student polishes a brass basket. Materials are positioned throughout the classroom, and children are free to choose which ever object they wish to polish. More often than not, the children "think that the objects are dirty and need to be cleaned". Note her impeccable concentration as she methodically applies polish to the brass and proceeds to get it spotless.

Exploring Geometry

Montessori, following a tradition that starts with at least Rousseau, believed that children come to understand the world through their senses. Experience, says Montessori, is the foundation of knowledge. As she explains, to learn, an emphasis must be placed on the process of learning, as opposed to the product. Watch as this three year old engages with the geometry cabinet. Watch her careful, deliberate movements, as she explores.

Safety Pin Activity

Watch as she engages with the Safety Pin Dressing Frame Activity. Yes, safety pins! Disclaimer, the video is three minutes long, which is almost half the amount of time she spent on the material. Watch as she carefully maneuvers her fingers, slowly and methodically removing the pins before preceding to fasten them again. Note the impeccable concentration, the remarkable determination and her willingness to keep trying until she accomplishes her task! She did it!

Cylinder Blocks Activities


Cylinder Blocks: The cylinder blocks are a favorite of Montessori classrooms. They're made of wood, and there are ten pieces, and the children absolutely love to work with them. Let's find out why.

Materials: A rectangular block of wood, with ten cylinders. There are four cylinder blocks in the collection.

Aim: Visual discrimination of dimension.

Results: Preparation for writing, development of concentration, and confidence.

Observations: Watch as she discovers her own mistakes, and then corrects them. This method is referred to as 'control of error', and is a fundamental principle of Montessori. Instead of a teacher letting the child know they accomplished a task, identifying whether it was done 'right or wrong', the material itself offers positive feedback. In turn, the child gains confidence in their own abilities.