The Effectiveness of Montessori Materials in Multiplication Understanding as Evidenced by Teacher Made Assessments
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Recent assessment results have indicated a need for strengthening multiplication understanding in students at the researcher’s school. Montessori materials have been developed to practice, implement, and master academic concepts—including math skills. Research supports the notion that a Montessori environment provides students with a strong understanding of math skills, as the learning begins with the concrete before addressing the abstract. The combination of a supportive environment, proper Montessori materials, and teacher training in the Montessori Method supported student success in multiplication mastery. It was hypothesized that students would develop mastery of multiplication with the assistance of one of these materials, the Checkerboard, which serves as a concrete representation of the problems presented. Observations of daily lessons at a small suburban Montessori public charter school involving the checkerboard were analyzed to track student growth and knowledge. Twenty students at the fourth and fifth grade level were given lessons on multiplication using the Checkerboard as a manipulative for solving problems. Data was collected in the form of interest surveys, competence surveys from both students and parents, and both pre and post assessment scores. Developmentally appropriate materials extended improvements in the reasoning skills of all children in a classroom, including those who independently solve math problems given the Montessori environment. Post surveys and assessments showed growth in understanding, confidence and math vocabulary.