The Montessori Geometric Cabinet is a well loved material in our house. Our children are in various stages of Geometry, and I thought we could chat a bit about it with you.
The Geometric Cabinet exploration begins as an early sensorial work, but continues it's life throughout Elementary Geometry for a range of lessons.
The first introduction is the Geometry Demonstration Tray that contains a set of three insets being, triangle, square and circle. The insets are handled by their knobs and this will help your child to develop muscle control and practice the famous pincer grasp that you will hear often when referring to Montessori work.
If you are at home you can certainly borrow from your cabinet to create your first Demonstration Tray, as we did. The shapes are presented with a Three Period Lesson.
As a home learner you have many choices in terms of your method of presentation. There is a recommended sequence of presentation for each drawer for early work, and this order will change for later presentations.
Initially the order will fall as such, circle, triangles, rectangles, regular polygons, curvilinear figures, and quadrilaterals.
The Elementary order begins with triangles, quadrilaterals, regular polygons, curved figures, rectangles, and circles. It is during elementary that the complete study of form continues. The triangle being the first polygon or closed figure moving through to the circle with an infinite numbers of sides.
The insets are explored by removing an inset by the knob with your dominant hand and tracing the outer edge of the figure with your subdominant hand, and then tracing the outline of the frame.
We presented in this way for the demonstration tray at home only, and the reason was that our children were not interested in continuing with this level of procedure and intervention, though it was novel for them to begin. At home this is your choice and completely depends on your child. My children were extremely curious and intrigued by the cabinet and while I modelled the use of the cabinet initially, their excitement would not have continued and this was far more important to me.
The set of cards in this post are part of the Plane Figure cards collection. This is an early activity that can be used in a variety of ways. Each figure in the cabinet has a corresponding set of three cards, solid plane figure, thick lined and thin lined figure. We separated our cards by drawer and created simple card stock folders with the cards.
Your child can layout the cards for each drawer in your cabinet. The circles can be graded by size from the solid figure, to thick line, to thin line. Our children loved matching their insets to the cards. There are many lessons including placing random cards on one rug, and your child can grade the figures on a second rug a distance away. This technique is used for many materials. Your child will naturally study the figures on the cards closely in an effort to remember the card they are looking to retrieve.
Early on your child will become familiar with a variety of figures from the cabinet, and their names. We did use a set of three part cards for our cabinet a little later on though they are not introduced early on in our manual. This is your choice depending on your child.
For those who may be interested we have created a very large collection of Montessori Geometry print materials. The collection of Montessori Geometry materials is expensive so print options for those who wish to use the curriculum at home often need quality alternatives. I talk extensively about all math materials from 3-12 extensively in our book that we are hoping to release to you all very soon.
Thanks for visiting with us!