Today I’m excited to welcome Tanya Wright to the blog! She is sharing some information about the Montessori Baric Tablets. This is an elegant Montessori activity that you don’t hear about much, which is unfortunate because it’s an important part of the Montessori sensorial curriculum.
The senses are the child’s window to the world; it is through them that he gathers information about his environment. The sensorial materials and presentations help the child make sense of the sensory impressions he is taking in. “The training and sharpening of the senses has the obvious advantage of enlarging the field of perception and of offering an ever more solid foundation for intellectual growth. The intellect builds up its store of practical ideas through contact with, and exploration of, its environment. Without such concepts the intellect would lack precision and inspiration in its abstract operations.” – Maria Montessori, Discover of the Child.
Baric Tablets are a wonderful work to encourage learning about and recognizing weight.
The materials you need:
– Three wooden boxes with seven tablets in each box (some companies offer boxes with 6 tablets instead of seven)
– A table or a mat
light, medium, heavy, heavier, heaviest, lighter, lightest
Each wooden box has seven tablets made out of wood (about 3 inches long).
The seven tablets in each box are the same size, but they are made out of different woods.
Each box has seven tablets. The first box has tablets that weigh 12 grams. The second box has tablets that weigh 18 grams and the third box’s tablets weigh 34 grams. Some companies make tablets that weigh 20, 30 and 40 grams.
Note: In all reality, I am a homeschool mom and two things you learn when you move from the Montessori classroom to the Montessori homeschool room is to be flexible and creative. If you want to make these at home, but don’t know what woods to use, don’t worry. As long as you can obtain three woods that are obviously light, medium and heavy in weight, you are good to go.
* The first time this presentation is done, the child has his eyes open. The second time, his eyes will be closed.
– This work is supposed to be done at a table, but since our table is not large enough in the homeschool room, then we use a mat and do it on the floor.
– Invite the child who will be working with you to bring the boxes to the table or mat.
– The child is then instructed to put his hands out (as if receiving a gift), palms facing up.
– Place one light tablet on one hand and ask child to move his hand up and down, as to gauge the weight of the tablet.
– Place one heavy tablet on the other hand and ask the child to move his hand up and down gently.
– Take the light tablet off and place another heavy tablet on that hand. If he realizes that they both weigh the same, then ask him to place them together on the table or mat.
– The child can try this again with two lighter tablets. If the child realizes that they are the same weight, then he can place them on the table or mat.
– Continue placing the tablets with matching weights in rows (light, medium, heavy). Continually, use the vocabulary words mentioned above.
Extension: Do the same activity, but this time, the child has his eyes closed.
The goal of this work is to let the child become aware of weights and how things can weigh differently. Baric sense is very important as is sitting still long enough to focus on recognizing whether the two tablets held are of same weight or not.
The control of error is usually the color of the wood. The set that we have at home is harder to recognize due to color, which helps with becoming more in tune with the weight and not the color, which is great, in my opinion. The point of this work is to engage in recognition of weight differences.
I hope your children enjoys this work as much as mine do. They have asked for it several times.
Here are some other resources that you might find helpful. It would be wise to note that there are always variations in the materials and presentations. I like to stick to my Montessori training binders, but doing what works best for your family is the most important thing. Montessori World, Info Montessori, Montessori Commons.
Please feel free to visit us over at The Natural Homeschool for more Montessori and Montessori-Inspired activities. Also, follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, Google + and to subscribe to our weekly emails.