Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Montessori Multiplication Bead Boards

I was inspired and motivated to create a multiplication bead board after seeing and reading a recent post on Montessori Print Shop's blog.  They referred  their readers to the blog, Starry Sky Ranch.  I wanted to create an alternative to the multiplication bead board using the idea seen at this blog with a bath mat and pony beads.  I set out for the store and I didn't have any luck finding a cheap bath mat at Dollar Tree.  I wanted to make this board as cheap as possible ... I remembered seeing another multiplication board posted at The Adventures of Bear.  I ran to an office store and bought two packages of red push pins.  The rest of the supplies for the project were already at home. I placed the push pins in a pink heart container I bought in Target's dollar area a year or two ago.  I followed the link posted to the template but the item was no longer available for FREE at this website.  So, I searched many Montessori blogs before deciding to actually google it which is what I should have done.  I found the direct link to the PDF template at Montessori For Everyone by googling in multiplication bead board template.  I did find a link to a second free multiplication bead board at Livable Learning.  This is a neat board too!  Scroll down to Module 4 and Math Facts.  Then, find the link to Multiplication and click on it.  This one is a little different than the previous one.  It uses bottle caps for the multipliers and has pom poms at the top.  Choose which one best fits your needs.  I did print out their free division board for later use.  After much thought, I believe that there was a reason why the bath mat was not readily available to me.  I believe that we will have better luck with push pins than the pony beads.  I am afraid the pony beads would fall out of the bath mat and get lost. I still LOVE both ideas!

The next step for me was to learn how to use the multiplication bead board the correct way.  I found great explanations at two blogs, the Montessori Print Shop and The Moveable Alphabet.  I also came across a video on You Tube created by a Montessori directress.  Remember I am not certified or trained Montessori so this is all new to me.  I am by no means an expert.  Let our new journey to learn multiplication facts begin!  She completed the multiplication table on scrap paper but I will eventually use a dry erase board or multiplication fact booklets.

I have been searching for free multiplication table booklets but haven't had luck yet.  I found colorful multiplication fact booklets that were already filled in at The Panicked Teacher's blog - these may be helpful when learning facts.  I may us them as control charts for Alyssa to check her work.  I did contact ABC Teach in hopes that they would add the materials to their Montessori collection soon. It doesn't hurt to ask since I have a membership. I love Montessori Math and have tried to incorporate it into our curriculum as often as I can.  I remember using number cards and counters of all sorts, the spindle box, paper teen and ten boards, etc.  Do you want to learn more about the Montessori method here is a link I found with FREE resources.

Our multiplication bead board was used during our Valentine's Day themed activities.  We used a red acrylic heart as the counter to be moved across the top.  You could also use a heart shaped eraser. Using the color red in the beginning helped Alyssa learn that we STOP at that number and do not pass it.  We were only going to focus on the times table for one, two, and three this week.  Alyssa wanted to continue working on this activity.  I found multiplication heart fact cards at this website.  I printed the fact cards on red cardstock.  This website has other free resources and seasonal math ideas including multiplication, addition, counting, area, and perimeter. This was Alyssa's first exposure to multiplication and it went very well.  She caught on quickly.  I foresee us using this board more often in the future.

Here are some photographs of how our multiplication bead board turned out and Alyssa hard at work.  She was extremely excited about learning something new until she poked her finger (even after our discussion on safety and how to handle the pins).  Needless to say, she was VERY careful afterwards.  These push pins were pretty sharp so use caution and observe your child at all times.  She did point to the last spot and tell me that's 100.  I think she was thinking about her hundred board since a hundred board activity was done previously that day.  She also counted by 2's and then used addition to add on two more to the end in order to find the answer.  She told me that all of the facts in the 2's table were even and why they were even.  She used addition instead of counting the push pins for most answers.  Yes, she is in her pajamas!  It was actually bedtime and she hounded me to do just ONE more activity and she had her eye on this one ALL day.  She watched me create the board and constantly kept asking me about it.  I told her we would do it tomorrow but I gave in.  I guess we were both excited!    

Valentine's Themed Multiplication Bead Board

President's Day Board
I used a penny as the top counter in honor or President's Day.  This board is very simple compared to the Valentine's Day theme.  I couldn't find any President's Day themed number cards.  Changing out the top counter didn't seem to distract Alyssa from the "work."  I plan to change out the top counter or use small themed number or calendar cards 1-10 when appropriate.  If anyone has any themed or holiday number cards please leave a link to your blog in the comment section.  I would really appreciate it.  On St. Patrick's Day, I will use a shamrock at the top.  The top counter can be any small item in my opinion such as foam shapes, mini erasers, acrylic or glass gems, buttons, etc.   

I will link this activity up at montessori-monday.
I hope you enjoyed your visit!  Stop by again real soon.
Thank you, 


  1. What a great post, Tracey! Thanks so much for the resources for DIY multiplication boards! For homeschool, DIY multiplication boards are wonderful! Thanks so much for linking up with Montessori Monday. I featured your post at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/LivingMontessoriNow

  2. Thank you for linking to my Livable Learning printable for the Multiplication Bead Board - however the board is not made with bottle caps and pom poms. It is made with plastic discs and velcro dots. I also wanted to let you know that as part of my "Leap Year - Leap into Giving" specials - I just released *all* of my Math Facts printables for free including the tables booklets and my presentation summaries. http://www.jmjpublishing.com/hope4memath.html

  3. It was my pleasure Suzanne. I just read through your multiplication bead board directions and see now that it was made with velcro dots and discs. I believe I might have been typing what I was thinking. We use a lot of bottle caps and pom poms around here and it could be an alternative way to use the board. Thank you so much for letting me (us all) know that your Math Fact printables are available for FREE. Are they available for free for a limited time?

  4. Nice post, Montessori division bead board are really helpful for teachers for teaching Montessori students. Thanks for sharing details about these bead boards.