Students who learn math by rote often have no real understanding or ability to put their skills to use in everyday life. Learning comes much more easily when they work with concrete educational materials that graphically show what is taking place in a given mathematical process.
Montessori students use hands-on learning materials that make abstract concepts clear and concrete. They can literally see and explore what is going on. The Montessori approach to teaching mathematics offers a clear and logical strategy for helping students understand and develop a sound foundation in mathematics and geometry.
The Montessori Math curriculum is based on the European tradition of Unified Math, which has only recently begun to be incorporated into the American math curriculum. Unified Math introduces Elementary students to the study of the fundamentals of algebra, geometry, logic, and statistics along with the principles of arithmetic. This study continues over the years, weaving together subjects that traditional schools normally ignore until the secondary grades.
The concrete Montessori Math materials are perhaps the best known and most imitated elements of Dr. Montessori’s work. These elegant and simply lovely materials hold a fascination for most children and adults alike. They proceed through several levels of abstraction, beginning with concepts and skills that are the most basic foundations of mathematics, presented in the most concrete representation, up through the advanced concepts of secondary mathematics, which are represented in increasing levels of abstraction, until the student grasps them conceptually.