How To Present Montessori Number Rods To Young Learners?

montessori number rods

Since the dawning of the Montessori method, educators, parents, and teachers have sought to provide children with interesting ways to engage with arithmetic concepts in its three levels of development. It is difficult to create a vivid and stimulating visual experience for young learners that can add holistic value to math education. 

One idea that has thrived in classrooms today is an assortment of number rods that aid learners in solving math problems as part of an extended number line. This resource aims to offer many insightful takeaways on how to teach young learners with these potent symbols.

Thus, students must connect the number rods with practical math applications and theoretical concepts. With the Montessori approach, children are encouraged to develop their own passions for math.

This guide will explore strategies for teaching the number rods in classrooms and the benefits of using these symbols.

What Does a Numbering Rod Consist of?

Usually, a set of Montessori Number Rods contains ten colorful rods divided equally into red and blue sections. The length of the rods increases linearly, with the second rod being twice as long as the first, the third rod three times as long, etc.

The color of the rods can vary, although most sets feature two or three shades of red and blue. The number rod is simply a length of plastic with rounded ends that allows students to easily grasp and manipulate the tool without hurting themselves. 

These Montessori Math tools are quite large, and most teachers find them more useful for younger students. A set of Number Rods can be found in most classrooms or school supply stores. They are also available online if you are unable to find one locally. 

What are the Benefits of Using Number Rods in the Classroom?

montessori number rods

The number rods in the Montessori Math materials set are a child’s first introduction to algebraic operations and concepts. In fact, they are meant to provide young learners with a solid foundation of mathematical principles and internalize the meaning of numbers. A number rod set includes ten rods, each representing a specific digit from 0-9. 

When it comes to young learners are still in the process of simplifying their understanding of abstract concepts. Thus, number rods allow them to understand numbers in terms of quantity and as symbols representing certain quantities.

To be specific, here are a few of its benefits: 

  • Number rods provide a concrete way for young learners to understand the concept of numbers.
  • Allows them to visualize how numbers can be manipulated in different ways.
  • The manipulative nature of this tool makes it easy for children to learn how to add and subtract without needing help from adults.
  • Allows children to see how numbers relate to one another.
  • Provide students with an opportunity to develop manual dexterity, visual discrimination skills, and creative problem-solving through creative operations. 
  • Provide a concrete way for young children to understand the concept of place value. 
  • Useful for helping young learners develop their fine motor skills, which is essential for writing later in life.

These benefits will no doubt help young learners develop a strong understanding of the fundamental arithmetic concepts and become more confident during their arithmetic sessions.

How To Present Montessori Number Rods To Young Learners?

When teaching young learners, it is vital to provide innovative and engaging methods to spark their interest. Make sure you have the materials readily available in your classrooms, such as number rods and extra large mats. This will allow you to use them with ease and help you create a fun learning environment for your students. 


Before using the rods, it is important to discuss how they can be used. This will help students understand how they can be applied in a classroom setting. It is also essential to provide students with the context for their usage, which will help them understand the values of the number rods. 

The following are the preparation steps: 

1. Talk about numbers in different contexts and their daily life.

2. Demonstrate how each rod should be handled and placed on the work table and how to use it.

3. Have them count aloud as they place each number rod on the table to familiarize them with the sound of the numbers being said aloud, supporting their development of mathematical language.

4. Invite the child to use other objects, such as beads or small stones, while using the number rods – this will aid them in understanding and visualizing what a number looks like when represented by more than one object at a time.

5. Make them aware of the different colors of each number rod and the relative size of each one.

6. Introduce subtraction and explain how to solve problems using this operation. This will develop students’ five basic mathematical processes skills: counting, estimating, addition, subtraction, and problem-solving.

3-Period Lesson:

three period lesson

The three-period lesson is a great way to help students learn to identify, remember and write down numbers using number rods. This method is especially beneficial for young students who are still perfecting their writing skills. 

  • During the first period, it is a good idea to practice counting aloud with the child for them to be familiar with the numerical sound of every number. 
  • The second period focuses on adding/subtracting numbers by placing them on the work table and suggesting how they can be added together. 
  • The third period explores how numbers are represented by more than one object. 

In many cases, children have grown accustomed to using the number rods in class and have no problems creating numbers using two or more rods at a time. When used in this way, they are an excellent tool for fostering the associative relations between numerical quantities and concrete representations.

Here are some ways you can use number rods in a three-period lesson:

  1. Introduce the students to the number rods and have them explore how they can represent numbers using more than one object at a time. 
  2. Have students use the number rods to represent numbers in various ways, such as on a number line, in groups or tens blocks, or on an array of objects (such as playing cards).  
  3. Ask students to describe how they used the number rods in each situation and how they know it worked (e.g., “I put two blue rods together because two is twice as big as one.”). 
  4. Finally, challenge students to create their own rules for using the number rods without explicit instruction from you.


Using Montessori number rod extensions can help students learn about numbers more effectively. An extension can be anything that extends the learning and provides opportunities for students to use their knowledge, skills, and understanding of numbers. Possible extensions include: 

1. Building A Maze

montessori number rods

Use a maze as an extension to this activity. Give students the number rods and markers, and ask them to create a maze that includes all numbers from 1 to 9. They should draw the maze on paper first to see how many squares are needed for each number.

2. Complete a Number Rod Puzzle

Give students a larger number of number rods to use when they create their own puzzles. For example, they might want to work on the problem of finding how many blue number rods it takes to make a certain total of objects.

3. Discrimination of Quantities

This activity is a good way for students to learn how to tell when two quantities are equal or not. You can give them a number of rods and ask them to find missing numbers in the same amount as one of their assigned numbers. For example, if you give them nine blue rods and one red rod, they should be able to find nine more blue rods so that they have ten total.

4. Counting by Ones, Twos, and Fives

montessori number rods

This is a good activity for students to practice counting. They should be able to find the number of objects when given three numbers in this order. For example, if you give them two blue rods and five red rods, they should be able to find ten total (two times two).

5. Learning about Ratios

This is an excellent activity for students to practice measuring. They should be able to answer questions about ratios of different quantities. For example, if you give them one blue rod and two red rods, they should be able to find that there are three total (one time, two).


Montessori number rods allow children to learn naturally through play. They make number teaching a lot more fun, engaging, and interactive for students. For the learning process to be effective, the use of number rods is essential.

Are you looking for a reliable Montessori school? Well, Montessori Academy is here to help. 

We are a leading Montessori school that provides quality education in a safe and nurturing environment. Each child is valued and respected. We offer a variety of programs that are designed to meet the needs of different children of different ages. 

For more information about the Montessori Academy, feel free to contact us today.


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