Six-year-old mathematician discovers squaring

Once again, it has been a ridiculously long time since I last posted. Since I’m now two months into my first year as an actual Montessori guide, I’m not sure that’s going to change much in the near future. I’m just too tired. That said, some moments are too good not to share.

I have a boy in my class who we’ll call Ryan. Ryan is six and has been obsessed with the bead squares since the beginning of the school year. He’s been building pyramids out of them, stacking them on top of each other in different ways to see what will balance, and sometimes just being silly with them. So I decided to show him something that they’re intended to be used for and I gave him a lesson on squaring. I showed him how to fold up the short 5 chain (5 connected wires, each wire containing five beads) to make a square, showed him the notation for squares, and let him work out how many beads were in the square. After we did one together, he decided to do all the bead chains. Here’s the result:

That was a full morning’s work for a very proud six year old. Next up: cubing.

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