What is the Montessori Spindle Box?
Montessori Spindle Boxes consist of a set of wooden boxes with compartments for organizing and counting spindles (which are wooden sticks). It is used to teach children early math concepts, specifically the concept of numerical quantity and the association of numerals with the physical representation of objects. The boxes are labeled with numerals, and each box corresponds to a specific number, allowing children to develop a concrete understanding of numerical values and their written symbols, as well as the value of zero.
- Invite the child, introduce the materials, and bring to the work space.
- Randomly point to some numbers on the box and ask the child to identify them.
- Place 1 spindle on your palm and say “1”.
- Make a fist around it and place it in the compartment labeled 1, then saying “1” again.
- Repeat the same with the succeeding numbers and invite the child to take over.
- After bringing all the spindles in their respective compartments, show the empty container and say “This means you counted the spindles exactly.”
- Point to the zero. “Zero means no quantity – we don’t put anything in that section.”
- Next, show how to bundle the spindles together.
- “We can’t bundle 0 or 1, so let’s take 2.”
- “This is a group of 2. ‘Two’.”
- Repeat with a few and allow the child to take over until all the compartments left have their spindles bundled.