Azim Premji University, Math Space
(2020)
Review: arrow cards.
At Right Angles.
pp. 111113.
ISSN 25821873
Abstract
Arrow cards are a simple manipulative to grasp place value or more generally the baseten numberwriting system that we use. Dr Maria Montessori invented the static cards. These cards are used along with proportional material like static beads (unit = single bead, ten = 10 beads strung together forming a line, hundred = 10 tens strung together to form a square and thousand = 10 hundreds strung to form a cube) to gain a sense of numbers – the quantities they indicate and the numerals that represent them and how they are linked. When these cards are superimposed, they form the multidigit number. When these transitioned to regular schools, an arrow got added so that the cards can be held up for an entire class to see. The cards are supposed to be held only by one hand holding the arrows together. This ensures that a number like 327 can’t be made with 300, 2 and 7. Even if a child tries to do that and succeeds thanks to friction, one flick of the hand would send the 2 flying out! So, the only way to make 327 would be to use the cards 300, 20 and 7 which is essentially a selfcorrective feature, common to many Montessori materials.
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