Dr. Montessori believed in the necessity and importance of mathematics in education. The ability to solve mathematical problems comes from the abstract part of our human minds that constantly seeks out ordered patterns in all the information we receive through our senses. This type of thinking--mathematical thinking--is at the core of all our intellectual activity.
In her educational syllabus for adolescents, Dr. Montessori placed math alongside language and moral education, understanding that the brain goes through the same processes when it works to solve math problems, to articulate thoughts into language, and to make ethical judgment calls. Our ability to think, to reason, and to make decisions is itself mathematical in nature.
In Montessori schools, math is fully integrated into all that we do, and mathematical knowledge builds naturally as students move from Children's House through adolescence.
The constructive triangles, for example, are materials that can be used in Children's House, Lower Elementary, and Upper Elementary.
Middle students recently brainstormed ideas of how these materials can be extrapolated to demonstrate more advanced concepts.
Integrating hands-on experiences and materials helps abstract concepts to become more concrete in the developing mind. Geometry students used a paper technique to prove some of the postulates and theorems in the current chapter.
Algebra tiles are used to model like terms, distributive property, and solving equations. Students may use them to discover a concept or to practice a skill until it is mastered.
Some students used ratios to create scale models for their end-of-unit math projects.
In micro-economy, students apply math skills almost every week.
They do cost analysis on each product they make to determine how much profit they can make from their products. And, they use numbers from previous years to project how many items we need to make this year.
The Finance committee keep detailed records of all incoming and outgoing money, while dividing profits into different budgets that students can use to grow their business. Mathematics becomes more real and more meaningful when it is recognized as a constant in all of life’s activities.