Large Numbers and Bead Activities

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

My son got interested with beads this week so we  worked on some Montessori inspired activities to make use of our math beads.   The cards were downloaded from Montessori Print Shop for free, the beads were homemade and since I don’t have hundred beads, I printed out on a cardstock a graphic version of it.  And I read a few tutorials from the web to able to present the activity in a step by step manner.

Be sure that your kids are familiar with beads works before doing this exercise.  Here are some of our activities related to bead works: Bead Stairs, tens and teens.

Exercise 1: Reading of large number cards.  I did this using the three period lesson.  After mastering the teens (10 to 19), we worked on reading the tens.  I place the 1’s on the left and the tens on the right.   This is how my 3 lesson period goes:

Step 1:  “This is 11”. (Placing 1 on the right side of 10).  10 and 1 is eleven.  I did the same thing with 25 and 32 and etc.
Step 2.  “Show me 11”.  This time, Mavi has to form the number 11 and etc.
Step 3:  This time I form the numbers and would ask him “What number is this?”
Exercise 2:  Introduced the number cards and the beads (1’s, 10’s and 100’s).  I’m still figuring out how to make a thousand cube thus the absence of it in this activity. 
Exercise 2.  Matching game of number cards and their quantities.  I demonstrated first what to do so he can understand the concept behind it.  Here I am showing him how to put quantities for 80.  Here, I would ask, “How many tens do we need to make 80?”.
Here on how we form quantities for the hundreds.  Same goes for the hundred, asking him “How many hundreds do we need to make 300?”.
Now after a couple of presentations, I told him that this time, he should put the right amount of beads according to the number cards I place on the tray. He struggled at first, especially with the hundreds. 
He knows his short beads very well so he didn’t find it hard if I asked him for the 1’s.
Supposedly, we were to do this the other way around, with me putting the quantities and having him match it with the correct number cards but we he was already complaining that he’s tired so we have to stop. 

Large number cards matching with beads is a great activity for child to learn the connection between written symbols and their quantities.  Montessori beads are really a favorite of mine, but sadly, they’re waaay beyond our budget so I just have to settle with DIY.

The following day we did some short beads exercises.  He loved this activity because he gets to color and write his numbers at the same time.  The bead worksheets were from The Helpful Garden which I downloaded for free!
Linking this to:
Montessori Monday


  1. It's amazing how much your little guy is excelling. I'm very impressed with your teaching style. It's so hands on and he's learning so much.


  2. I love the way you've put together some great activities with DIY bead bars and free printables! Thanks so much for including the helpful links. I featured your post at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page and added it to my DIY bead bars post at

  3. For the cubes, you can use wooden a b c blocks -- tape 4 together in a cube shape, then print out 6 of the hundred squares and tape them on each side. I bought one real thousand cube for the teaching lesson and the rest are all handmade this way.

    1. Such a wonderful idea! Would definitely try it :) Thank you so much.

  4. With Golden Bead work, the units don't need to be together or color coded like the bead stairs. That may save some steps for anyone who wants to DIY Golden Beads.

    I'm happy you followed him when he said he was tired. This work is meant to be visited many many times over 3 years, no need to do it all in one lesson! He's got good stamina :)

    We work in jammies, too!!!

    1. Thank you for the input :) I often wonder how long are we going to work on this... and thank God I was enlightened. Sadly this is not his favorite activity as of the moment :( So from to time I introduce it to see if he's interested and I would put it away if he wants me too.