DIY Montessori Hierarchical Material, Unit - Million Place Value Presentation Material

This is the process we used to make the Montessori Hierarchical Materials.

This material in geometric form introduces the child concretely to numbers one through one million. This is the first lesson in our Mathematics Elementary 1 Montessori Research & Development Manual.

Millions are not a new concept to Xander, but this introduction very much is. It is one thing for a child to hear the word million, and to know it is a very large number but quite another to concretely see, feel and experience place value from unit's to millions. I will show our presentation in a coming post.
To visit lessons for this material you can visit here,and here. This material is extremely expensive (hundred's), and proportionally large so we found it in our best interest to make it. It was very simple and very inexpensive to make this way, it really depends on what you may have on hand. I decided to go really cheap!!

Materials list:

*Two Home Depot extra large packing boxes. You can obviously use boxes from anywhere, but the most important thing to me was that they were in great condition.

*Really sharp knife and an extra blade because it gets dull fairly quickly and I wanted nice clean cuts.

*I used a hot glue gun and one full package of large sticks.

*Metal ruler or other straight edge.

*I used spray paint, blue red & green.

*We used scrap 4x4 lumber to make the remaining blocks.

*The dimensions are as follows:

Million Cube - 50x50x50cm
One Hundred Thousand Square - 50x50cm x5cm thick
Ten Thousand Bar - 5x5cm sq x 50cm long
One Thousand Cube - 5x5x5cm
One Hundred Square - 5x5cm and 5mm thick
Ten Bar - 5x5mm sq x 5cm long
Unit Cube 5x5x5mm

I cut the boxes into sheets, and then cut 50x50cm squares x8 for the million cube and hundred thousand square.

I cut the sides for the hundred thousand square, and some supports for the inside.

I glued one side at a time, and let the glue dry in between. I had to hold it a bit because it is hot glue and I used a TON of it 😃 Once it was holding I used a glass to support the pieces until really secure.

 I glued the sides of the hundred thousand square to the top. This required a tiny amount of trimming to make up for the overlap of extra material.

LOTS of glue

 The hundred thousand square supports were placed to add extra stability. I also cut small rectangle corner supports for the square as well, similar to below for the million cube.

I used the left over upper/lower box flaps to make corner supports for the million cube, and glued them in place.

The wood portion was cut from scrap 4x4 lumber. The unit cube and ten bar are very small, so my hubs cut two hundred square slices, and I cut the ten bar and unit cube from the second square.

I chose this paint from the Depot. The million cube took exactly one can of paint.

I used a metal ruler (mainly just for length) to mark the reference lines on the material. This is a visual reference for the child so that they can compare, and physically prove the composition of one material to the next.

The finished product 😃 No it is not perfect, but it worked out very nicely!!
I created a set of number cards for the initial presentation, and you are welcome to use this free file if you find it useful.

So the cost in total was approx $35.00. This could be much less if you have good boxes (even wood should you choose), and had some paint on hand.

Boxes 4.95 ea

Paint approx 18.00

Glue Sticks approx 7.00


That's it! If you make this, or have already made a version share a link to your work, because I would love to see it!!

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  1. These are great! It looks like a lot of work though. I'm trying to decide how important these are in the grande scheme. Do you feel like they will get enough use to really make it worth the work (and/or money)? I'm also worried about the space of storing them.
    They really look great though, you do an awesome job on your DIY materials

    1. I debated on making this material for a long time for a few reasons, all that you mentioned above.
      My thoughts in the end were that if we could make it inexpensively, and fairly quickly (it really didn't take long) that it would so worth it.
      This was honestly a welcome change from making all our new print materials:))
      Let me know if you make it and send me a link:)

  2. WOW!! You are an ARTIST!!!! I NEED this material!!!! Thanks for the tutorial and for the pdf!!!!! YOUR ARE AN ANGEL!!!

    Thanks you, THANK YOU!!!

    1. Thank you Karen!! You are always so sweet<3
      If you make it send me a link!!!

  3. WOW! I got mine all for free but didn't paint because I have no space and not artsy enough to even think to do so :). Found a sun glasses box at $Tree for the 10,000, a square flat box somewhere for the 100,000, and another big box for the million cube. The kids love these and I can flatten them. I also had the kids guess how big a 10,000,000 bar box would be, and a 100,000,000 flat. Thanks for sharing your DIY materials. Know many families will be inspired!


I greatly appreciate your friendly comments and feedback. I love to see what others are making, so please feel free to include a links and share your site with us!!! If you have any questions regarding any of the materials we have made...I'd love to help!!! Thank you for visiting us:)



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