Monday, November 23, 2009

Montessori Mathematics: The Complete Bead Material - Part 5

Making the Bead Squares

The bead squares are not much more difficult to make than the bead bars, but there's no quick-and-sneaky way to make them. There's no easy way to make the bead squares either, so you might as well get used to it! Keep in mind that when it seems that it will never end, you get to the bead chains and speed will again be a factor.

Many of the steps for the bead squares are the same as for the bead bars, so I'm not going to elaborate on those steps, although I've included the photographs for your benefit. There are some differences, though, and that is what this post will focus on.

Step 1: Gather your materials

Step 2: Cut your plastic canvas. You will need to cut two sections that are (1 square) x (N x 2 - 1). For my example, using 5, I cut 1 x 9 squares. (1 square) x (5 x 2 - 1 = 9). There is one exception to this. When doing your 2 square, you only need one piece of canvas cut.

Step 3: Cut your wire.

Step 4: Make a wire curl.

Step 5: Straighten the wire.

Step 6: Thread your first bead. It's really easy to forget at first that you're making a bead square, not a bead bar, and I've mindlessly begun to make bead bars while the plastic canvas laid right in front of me!

Step 7: Add your first piece of plastic canvas. You will need to thread the wire through the first square.

Step 8: Thread the rest of your beads, minus one. So, if you're doing five, you've already got one bead on and you need to bring the number of beads to four.

Step 9: Add your second piece of plastic canvas. Again, you put the wire through the first square.

Step 10: Thread your final bead.

Step 11: Twist the loose end.

Step 12: Clip off the excess.

Step 13: Make a tight wire curl at the angled end of your row of beads.

One row done!

Step 14: Begin your next row. Basically you follow steps 1-6 and when the time comes to put the wire through the first piece of plastic canvas you skip one square and put it through the following one. In the five bead square each row of beads threads through the canvas at squares 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9.

TA-DA! You've made a bead square.

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At 8:42 p.m. , Blogger Paul and Ines said...

I've made some of my own bead materials too. It's very hard. I love yours...I may copy it :) Thanks for the inspiration.

At 9:00 a.m. , Anonymous Alicia said...


Thanks SO much for this!! Especially w/all you have going on. Your kids are adorable.

I'm getting ready to place my order for the beads with Bolek, and have a few quick questions:

1) since you used opaque beads, which colors did you choose for the pink (different shade) and the light and dark greys?

2) where can I find exactly how to make the snake game and other beads that aren't obvious from looking on Montessori web sites?

3) How do you store the beads? I do love those little wooden boxes you get with Montessori things (guess that's why they cost the big bucks) and wonder if there's something inexpensive to use.

4) which books do you recommend re: learning how to do the math? My daughter is just turning 5, and we've pretty much done the David Gettman book (I love this book!). I read recently about these books, Montessori Matters from the Sisters of Notre Dame De Namur. Not sure if there are other options.
Any suggestions?

Thanks so much for your wonderful site. What a gift you have given us!

At 9:10 a.m. , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I started making my own bead material last year and was happy to discover your bead square trick.I used it to make a few cubes and squares as well this week.I struggled a bit with the cubes but finally found a few tricks.Thanks for sharing this with us.Have a pleasant week with your kids,

Sandra from Quebec

At 10:36 a.m. , Blogger Florence said...

Very good job !Thanks for the photos !
I've done all the bead materials Europe, where I live.
I post on my french blog how to do it. You can have a look ;-)

Au revoir !

At 2:48 p.m. , Blogger Montessori House said...

Wow! This is the best explanation I have ever seen for bead DIY. I shall post a link for my readers... Did you make the whole set for all the numbers??!

At 11:21 a.m. , Blogger Mommy Moment said...

You did a wonderful job! Thanks for sharing each step with your readers!

I wanted to e-mail you, but could not find it, so since you are from Canada I thought you may be interested in some of the Montessori giveaways I have going on right now. 2 are posted and 1 more will come yet this week!


At 10:37 p.m. , Blogger Sophia said...

Thank you so much for all this wonderful information. It's been most inspiring. However, I was wondering if you could add a bit more about making the 1000 cube itself. I just cannot picture how it is put together.

BTW, I got all the beads from the place you recommended and I loved them. The only change I made was using 16 gauge copper wire instead. I really liked how firm the bars looked.

Thanks again, you're awesome!!

At 7:08 a.m. , Blogger Rachel R. said...

Are you able to explain to a newbie why 55 of each of the numerical bead bars are needed?


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