Tuesday 1 February 2011

The Blue Constructive Triangles-not as easy as you think

I think by now you know that I love the Montessori method, from when I first started reading about it, I thought to myself - it just makes sense! Now, I know that it isn't for everyone and not every child will flourish in a Montessori environment but on a whole I think Maria Montessori had her head screwed on the right way and we could all learn a lot from her.
One of the things that is hard about going down the Montessori path is that if you plan to do it all at home then it can be a very costly do indeed. Most Montessori equipment is expensive and it is really hard to decide which key pieces of equipment you are going to spend your well earned money on and which pieces you are going to try and make.
If you have a fully equipped workshop and know how to use all the equipment it probably isn't such a big deal to make a good chunk of the equipment but we don't all have that and budgets are tight so it often comes down to using alternative materials and depending on the piece of equipment you are making I think that is fine but often there is a good reason why a certain piece of material is made in a particular way.
Right, the constructive triangles - I thought these would be an easy thing to make, just a bunch of 12 right-angled scalene triangles right? wrong!
Attempt number one...I tried using 1cm thick foam but it was difficult to cut so the triangles were not very accurate and so they didn't fit together well. Plus they had a lot of static when working with them so they would move around a lot. Fail.
Attempt number two...Next I made a set out of thick card, these were cut better but not heavy enough so Ebi-kun got frustrated quickly because they would move about as he tried to place the pieces together and if there was a draft from somewhere the whole lot of work would shift. Fail.
Attempt three....and I found a winner! This time I used thin craft foam 2mm thick. It was much easier to cut and then (and this is the genius moment) I put them in the bathroom. You could work on a damp table but they work really well on the bath wall. The water keeps them stuck in place plus it has the added bonus of working different muscles, any work which involves a vertical surface is good for the child's muscle development - think of an easel or magnets on a fridge.

Now you are probably wondering what the green bits at the top are....
well, they are Yoda's feet, I am not sure what Maria Montessori would have made of Yoda.

I have made up a template for the blue triangles that you can print out below, you will need to make 12 triangles. I need to get some more foam so that I can make the rest of the constructive triangles now.
Blue Contructive Triangles by Jojoebi

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