An Insight into Montessori Approach to ‘Addition’

Posted on 14 October 2010 | Sharing, Subject
An addition game makes adding up so much fun!

An addition game makes adding up so much fun!

A Term 2 Montessori lesson in ‘Addition’ had the children in Kindergarten 1 working with materials and playing a game to understand the concept of addition.

First up, the concept is introduced through an “Addition game”. A small group of children are given a box of golden “unit beads”. Each child will pick a few of the beads. A child will count to find how many beads he/she has and inform the group aloud. He/She will then place them on a piece of cloth the teacher has prepared.


Matthew practises addition by working with the addition strip board material.

After the teacher adds all their beads together,  she brings the four corners of the cloth together and carries it in her hand. The teacher will then spread the cloth and count the total number of beads inside. The children take turns to say aloud the number of beads that they initially had with them and then everyone will count the total beads.

After these steps in the game are carried out, the children will  be able to see that there are more beads altogether than what they individually had. This allows the children to realise and relate that addition is “putting together” and that “adding up” means becoming “more”. The children play the addition game in pairs or in small groups  till they become confident of adding up. Once the children are confident, they are introduced to the symbols “+” and “=”.

Qi Bin is attempting to add using the Short Bead Stairs

Qi Bin attempts to add using the 'Short Bead Stairs' material.

The whole concept of addition is further reinforced and practised through attempting simple addition of whole numbers within 10 using a variety of Montessori materials like Short Bead Stairs, Number Rods and Addition Strip Board.

The children will also have the opportunity to work with two sets of  materials, taking a bead bar etc. from each set to represent the two numbers to be added, count to find the sum and record it.