The presentation with knobbed cylinders is one of the first sensorial activities in a Montessori classroom. The apparatus was designed by Maria Montessori herself, and consist of wooden cylinders of varying diameter and height, all of which must be inserted into the correct socket in an accompanying wooden pallet.
Through their work with these cylinders, children’s ability to discriminate visually becomes refined, preparing them for mathematics activities such as comparison, grading and seriation.
The blocks provide a control of error and even a young child can use them successfully.
Watch the below tutorial by Wonderful World of Montessori to see how the lesson is applied:
The child is encouraged to remove each cylinder one by one, and then match each one back into the correct socket. Children will acquire many different skills by mastering the knobbed cylinder activity, for example one-to-one correspondence, crossing the mid-line, development of the pincer grip, alignment and judgment, fine motor coordination and hand-eye coordination.
There are four different knobbed cylinder sets. By using all four sets, children can begin to learn and internalise the differences in size, height and diameter.
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