Montessori Snake Game

Montessori teaches Math in fun and exciting ways with a sensorial and concrete-to-abstract approach. Montessori utilizes math materials that help develop a child’s mathematical abilities. Dr. Maria Montessori believed that with the proper foundation and freedom to explore and experiment, Maths Activities and lessons can be interesting for children.

The Snake Game is a perfect example of these materials that exhibit the Montessori approach.

What is a Montessori Snake Game?

The Snake Game is a popular math game introduced in the primary years of school. It is an enjoyable Montessori math activity that strengthens the counting skills of children.

The Snake Game has two variations. The first one is the search of tens in which sets of ten colored beads are made evenly from the equation given. Ten colored beads are replaced with ten golden beads. It is also a positive snake game.

The other one is the Negative Snake Game using subtraction. In this colored bead, bars are put up randomly and do not form an exact count of ten. Here, you can use black and white beads as markers for counting.

Objectives of Montessori Snake Game

  • Developing counting skills and making exchanges.
  • Introducing children to addition combinations and subtraction facts.
  • To familiarize children with all the possible number combinations that make up ten.
  • To prepare them for working with multiplication, division, negative numbers, and algebra in the future.
  • To practice with equivalents.

When to introduce the Montessori Snake Game to children?

Towards the end of their Montessori early childhood career, children can learn this lesson. Usually, by four and half years, children can learn the Addition Snake Game.

Materials for the Montessori Snake Game activity

  • A box with five sets of colored bead stairs.
  • Box of 23 golden ten bars.
  • Black and white bead stairs.
  • Gray bead bars.
  • A special notched card or marker for counting and marking.

How is the Montessori Addition Snake Game presented?

  • Invite the child to play the Snake Game and give a brief introduction to the game. You can tell that the goal of the activity is to transform a colorful snake into a golden snake by counting to ten.
  • Ask the child to bring the box and place it on the mat or table.
  • While placing the boxes, show the child the boxes of colored beads and golden beads.
  • Show them the black and white beads and the counting card.
  • Show the child while placing the boxes in order from left to right – black and white bars, colored bead bars, and golden ten-bars.
  • Place the notched card as an indicator down near the black and white bars.
  • Show the child to build a stair or inverted triangle using the black and white bars on the right of the mat.
  • You can ask the child to lay down the colored beads in the shape of a snake using the equation, like 7+3=10.
  • Tell the child to count with you when setting the colored beads in a set of ten.
  • As the child counts the colored beads, insert the marker and the golden bar horizontally at the tenth position.
  • Ask the child to count the number of leftover beads on the bar after the marker and take that number from the black and white bead bars.
  • For example, if two beads are there, after the first 10-count, place a golden ten-bar and a black bead bar of two from the boxes horizontally and directly above the snake.
  • Remove the marker and ask the child to place the colored bars no longer needed back into an empty box.
  • Ask the child to place the golden ten-bar and the black bar in place of the colored bead bars in the snake formation.
  • You can invite the child to count the beads again from the first black bead till you reach ten.
  • Repeat the process above, until the child replaces all the colored bead bars with golden ten-bars to form the golden snake.
  • If the total number of beads is not a multiple of 10, there will be either a black or black and white bead bar left at the end.
  • Replace the black and white bar with the corresponding color bead bar and replace the black and white bead bar with its stair formation.
  • You can now invite the child to figure the total number of beads in the snake by counting the golden ten bars and adding the total of the black and white bead bar onto it.
  • Show the child how to check the work done by counting the total of the bead bars that return to the black box.
  • Again invite the child to perform another equation or have them return each set of bead bars to their appropriate boxes.

Control Of Error

Ask the child to check the work by showing them the control of the error method.

  • Place all of the golden ten-bars and black and white bars vertically on the left side of the mat.
  • Place the colored bars on the right side of the mat from largest to smallest.
  • Place a golden ten-bar vertically at the bottom left side of the mat.
  • Ask the child to place the largest colored bead bar vertically next to the right of the golden ten-bar. Have the child count the number of golden beads left and place the corresponding color bead bars above the first to make it the same size as the ten bars.
  • For example, seven-colored bead bars with three colored bead bars are placed to the right of the golden ten-bar.
  • The child can use the colored bead bars to make exchanges as needed.
  • You can continue this until there are no more possible combinations to make ten.
  • Ask the child to check if the number of golden ten-bead bars and tens from the colored bead bars made by them are the same.

How to present the Montessori Subtraction Snake Game?

  • Ask the child to bring the snake game tray and place it over the mat.
  • Tell the child to place the black and white bars, colored bead bars, gray negative bead bars, and golden ten-bars next to each other from left to right.
  • Ask the child to build a stair out of white and black bead bars and place the marker or notched card as an indicator below it.
  • Tell that the gray beads are used for subtraction.
  • Invite the child to lay down the colored bead bars and gray negative bead bars from left to right to make a snake following the equation.
  • Tell the child to count the beads using the notched card as an indicator and make exchanges as it was done in the Montessori Addition Snake Game.
  • When the child reaches the gray color bead while counting, ask to stop as they are to be used for subtraction.
  • Ask the child to count the number of beads on the gray bead bar.
  • For example, if the quantity of the gray negative bead bar is seven, explain to the child how to subtract seven from the snake by counting seven beads from right to left.
  • Place the gray negative bead bars and colored bead bars in the black box.
  • Place the marker at the point where the child stops counting, remove the colored bead bars no longer needed, and replace them with the black and white bead bars.
  • Tell the child that the snake will become shorter and ask them to reconnect the snake.
  • Invite the child to count the total number of beads in the snake by counting the golden ten-bars and adding the total of the black and white bead bar onto it.
  • Show the child how to check the work done by using control of error.
  • Ask the child to perform another equation.
  • Tell the child to place the bead bars in the respective boxes after the activity.

Control Of Error

Ask the child to check the subtraction activity done by showing them the control of the error method.

  • Place all of the golden ten-bars and black and white bars vertically on the left side of the mat.
  • Ask the child to get the gray bead bars out of the box, and place them vertically on the right side of the mat in the order of largest to smallest.
  • Place the colored bars on the right side of the mat from largest to smallest.
  • Ask the child to put the largest gray bead bar horizontally in the center of the mat.
  • Then, ask the child to count the gray bead bar and place a colored bead bar of the same number to the right of the gray bar.
  • The child can use the colored bead bars to make exchanges as needed.
  • Repeat this process, and return the gray and colored beads to the black box as matches are found.
  • Ask the child next to match the golden ten-bars and black and white bead bars to the colored bead bars, as they did in the Montessori Addition Snake Game.
  • If the count matches, the child has done the activity correctly.

Note:
It is advisable that you practice the Montessori Snake Game, and as you feel comfortable and confident, you can show the child how to play.

You can introduce the child to the Montessori Addition Snake Game first and store away the gray beads until your child is ready for the subtraction presentation. It may cause a distraction for them during the Montessori addition snake game presentation.

Where can you buy the Montessori Snake Game?

You can check the Montessori Addition Snake Game on Amazon.

You can also check out Montessori Snake Game on Etsy.

Also check some other Montessori games that develop pre math skills.

  1. Montessori Spindle Box
  2. Number Rods
  3. Sandpaper Numerals
  4. Cards and Counters
  5. Multiplication Board