Montessori Math Activities

Montessori education, stemming from the theory of Dr. Maria Montessori, revolves around allowing children to physically explore their environment by means of guided self-direction. Montessori math activities generally use manipulative--that is, objects that students can touch, group, sort, move and count. Children gain comprehension and practice concerning math concepts by hands-on exploration.

  1. Counting

    • This lesson is aimed toward preschool children. Print out various groups of bunnies (with cotton tails visible). Have the child describe the pictures. Give the child a small container of cotton balls, and have him or her match the cotton balls to the bunny tails. Instruct the student to count the bunnies by touching the cotton balls as he counts. You can use this type of lesson with other pictures and objects that can be matched with the pictures for additional counting practice.

    Cupcake Addition

    • This is for younger elementary school aged children. Give each child a frosted cupcake. Provide small bowls of toppings. Toppings can include items like M&Ms, candy corn, gummy candies and miniature marshmallows. Also provide dice. Have the children roll a die once and then place the amount of toppings on a cupcake that corresponds with the number of dots on the die. Instruct the students to roll the die again and repeat. Then lead the children in constructing addition sentences from the activity. For instance, if she rolls a three and a two, she would write "3 + 2 = 5."


    • This lesson is for older elementary school children. Pair the students and give each pair a quarter, pencil and paper. Ask them to predict how many times "heads" will occur and how many times "tails" will occur if they were to flip the coin 20 times. Instruct one member of the pair to flip the quarter 10 times while the other partner records the results. Then have the pairs change roles so that each person gets a turn doing both tasks. Compare the results with the predictions, and lead in a discussion about the definition and applications of probability.

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