The foundation for math learning begins much earlier than we adults realize. Our children and their developing minds are capable of understanding and taking in abstract thinking early in their lives. We (and they) may not know it fully until they hit a point in life when they just “get it”.

This idea hit home with me as I sat through a presentation on a sensorial lesson in my Montessori program last week. As my instructor presented the Binomial Cube to us with accompanying formulas (for our sake, not to teach to a 3 year old), at that moment I understood geometry better than I ever had in my life. I was an economics major in college so that says a lot.

**Math For Kids**

Here is a simple geometry lesson for your child.

I used Melissa & Doug pattern blocks for this exercise. I picked out the shapes I needed for this exercise and put the rest of the material away for later use. You can purchase specific Montessori materials for this lesson, or even make your own shapes by simply printing on card stock and laminating for sake keeping.

**Materials:**

- 11 green equilateral triangles
- 1 blue rhombus
- 1 yellow hexagon
- 1 black marker
- 1 small bowl or basket
- A work tray, table or mat

**Approach:**

- I first drew a black line along the edges that the child is meant to match together. This provides a control of error within the activity so that the adult doesn’t have to jump in and correct the child. As he moves along he’ll figure out if he hasn’t completed the activity successfully.
- Then I said to my son, “I’d like to show you something today with shapes. Will you come with me to get the activity?” We walked to the table.
- We sat down together and I introduced the materials by saying “this is a bowl with shapes. let’s see what we have in this bowl.”
- I placed each shape randomly on the table each time saying, “equilateral triangle”, “hexagon”, and so on, introducing the shapes. I then asked him if he could show me the triangle, the hexagon and so on. Then I pointed to the triangle, the hexagon and so on and ask him, “What is this?” I did this part to make certain he understood the names of the objects. If he was still working on these names, or had difficulty, I would have stopped the activity at that point because he already would have gotten a lot of it.
- Once we went through that part, I said, “I wonder what we can make with these equilateral triangles?” I traced the black lines and slide the pieces together.
- I slide two equilateral triangles together to make a rhombus and said, “Rhombus.” Then I slide three equilateral triangles together to make a trapezium and said, “Trapezium.” Then I slide the remaining pieces together for the hexagon. Show your child how the shapes you just made with the equilateral triangles match the “control” shapes (the yellow hexagon, the blue rhombus and the red trapezium).
- I ended by asking him if he would like a turn. He said, “yes”. A good variation of this activity is to allow the child freedom to create his own patterns and designs with the shapes offered to him. You will be amazed at the creations, I promise.

Thank you for choosing to read this post today. I hope that we inspired you in some small way!

Marnie

**This activity involves the following shapes:*

**Rhombus** – a quadrilateral whose four sides are equal and the opposite sides parallel.

**Trapezium** – a quadrilateral having 2 of its opposite sides parallel

**Hexagon** – a plane figure with 6 sides and 6 angles

Add to the math fun with these posts from some of the other Quirky Mommas:

Brenna says

Those geometric shape pieces are great for young preschool students to design their own projects. We used those pieces in class, too, then designed our own clown faces (during a circus theme) with geometric shapes cut out of construction paper. http://www.brennaphillips.com/geometric-clowns-in-preschool

Julie says

Clever idea to use the pattern blocks for the Montessori triangle work! I made ours out of paper, but I like your way better.

Marnie says

AWW, thanks Julie. I just happened to have these great M&D blocks and I thought he wasn’t quite ready for the full on patterns that came along with the material. I love the idea of adding the black line as a control of error and to allow for tracing (sensorial) for the children. Brilliant Montessori!

Marnie says

Oh, I love, love that idea Brenna! ðŸ™‚

Kim says

This is a fabulous idea. My little one would love this.

Kath says

Of course! you inspired me. It is very interesting. I would love to try it out with my kids. Thanks for sharing this wonderful ideas!