Quantities in the Decimal System


Direct Aim:
…to develop the concept of the hierarchical orders of the decimal system: units, tens, hundreds, thousands.
…to give the child the relative measurement of the quantities: bead, bar, square, cube.

Indirect Aim:
…to prepare the child for geometry concepts: point, line, surface and solid.

Age: 3-6

…the golden bead materials which consist of:
…one container of loose gold beads representing units
…one box of gold bead bars of ten beads each
…one box of 10 gold bead squares of ten bars (representing 100)
…one box containing 1 gold bead cube of hundred- squares (representing 1,000)
…a large tray with a dish or smaller tray, used for transferring the quantities

Individual Presentation. As a unit bead, and then a ten bar is placed on the table, the child is asked to identify the quantities. One hundred and one thousand are presented also. The teacher gives a three period lesson naming the quantities: unit, ten, hundred, and thousand. The child is then invited to examine the materials and their composition. The child may count the ten beads on the ten-bar again. “The hundred is made up of ten ten bars”. The ten-bar is placed on top of the square as the child counts. “The thousand is made up of 10 hundreds”. The hundred-square is placed next to each section of the cube as the child counts. The teacher gives the three period lesson defining the composition of the quantities.

Small Group exercise. The golden bead materials, now including the wooden hundred-squares and thousand-cubes are arranged at random on a rug (in a basket). Each child takes a tray. The teacher asks the child to bring a quantity. ‘Bring me 3 hundreds’ As each child returns with the quantity, the child identifies it, and the teacher and child count it together. At first the child is asked to bring only one hierarchy at a time. Later he will bring all four at once.


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