Jun 4, 2007

Number cards and counters - control of error

Ever notice that there is no built-in control of error for the Number Cards and Counters material? Well, golly gosh, that sounds like an excuse to use some fabric scraps and whip up something fun and funky for the benefit of my pupils! Here's a quick tutorial for y'all.

1.) Photo copy your sandpaper numbers, 0-9.
2.) Cut out each number.

3.) Pick out ten different fabric scraps. You will only need a little patch of each. Lay them out next to each other and fiddle around with the placement - color contrast and print selection are important.
4.) With your iron, apply fusible webbing, paper side up, to the WRONG side of the fabric. Place the copy of the number on the paper side of the webbing, BACKWARDS. Trace around the number with any pen. Cut out the fabric number and peel off the paper backing.5.) Continue making all the numbers, from 1 to 10. (You will not make a separate zero because it's not used in the exercise.) Arrange them on a piece of muslin or other backing fabric. Iron, following the manufacturer's instructions for the fusible webbing. Your number strip will look something like this:
Feel free to leave the project as is and mount it on some cardboard backing, or find a frame. I chose to embroider the edges around each number in order to provide contrast and texture, and to ensure a strong adhesion of the numbers to the background fabric.

UPDATE: Here's a link to a tutorial for the stem stitch, which I used to embroider the edges of my numbers.

Yay for artsy math! Now you have a work of art to hang near the math shelf, and the children have a way to check their own work!


Poets and Children said...

My understanding is that there's no control of error in the cards & counters project because it's the next degree of difficulty up from the spindle box, but this is a very nice way to bridge that gap. A very beautiful piece of material.

BTW, I'll take this pedantic moment to introduce myself - I'm Jess, you messaged me on myspace a looooong time ago to let me know about your blog, and I've been lurking ever since. In the pretty near-ish future I'm planning on starting my own Montessori blog (veering more to the theoretical side), so if you're interested I'll let you know when I do.

Keep up the awesome crafty work!

Meg McElwee said...

Thanks, Jess! Be sure to let me know if you start up a blog - I would be happy to link to it in the side bar.

Cards and counters is the next step up from the spindle boxes, and is the first time that the children are ordering numbers 1-10. Putting the numbers in order is the purpose of the work. Other than that, it's very similar to the spindle boxes. The difficulty is ordering before counting, so I've always wondered why we don't provide the children with a way to check this aspect of their work. I've observed that the control of error is needed here in rural Mexico, where many children aren't getting much mathematical stimulation in the home. They don't start reciting number sequences practically from birth like others might!