Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Geometric Solids

In Montessori classrooms the children are permitted to freely choose among a great variety of growth-promoting materials during the independent work period. As a result of their freedom to choose, it is always very interesting to see which materials the children are most interested in using (which can vary dramatically from year to year). Often, children will observe another student using a material and will want to imitate their use of it.

This year, I have been particularly struck by how interested the children are in learning the geometric forms. Even the youngest children in the classroom can already correctly identify the basic geometric forms (cube, cone, sphere, cylinder, and pyramid).

One of the most frequently selected lessons is to select some of the geometric forms, place them in a basket, cover them with a blanket and play a game in which they try to find a specific form with their eyes closed. This game is great for teaching children the names of the forms, both because there is a lot of repetition of the names ("Find the cube." "It is the cube!") and because it coordinates the child's visual and kinaesthetic memory (by combining the visual input of what you see with the motor output of what you feel more areas of the brain are active and the transmission of signals in the brain becomes more efficient, psychologists call this consolidation).
This multi-sensory approach is representative of the Montessori Method for learning, which considers children to be sensorial explorers who learn best using concrete materials that appeal to multiple sensory modalities. It is also a good example of the socialization that is fostered in the Montessori classroom-children enjoy using the materials independently as well as in spontaneously formed groups.

I really hope that years from now the children find learning geometry to be equally fun!

Some of the children enjoy doing the lesson while blindfolded and exclaiming "Ta Da"...

1 comment:

  1. Love this blog about what you are doing....The bench is perfect, so are all the darling toys that teach... such precision and such a pleasure to use I would think.
    Can I come to school and play too?