As soon as she arrived this morning, she was right back at her rug along with the same observer as yesterday. I walked over to her and said, "Do you remember the cylinders we have that look the same but don't all weigh the same. It is a pairing material. Let me go and get it for you."
I brought her the Baric cylinders (I don't have the tablets, instead I have the cylinder shaped material).
"Oh, yeah. I had a lesson on them when I was really little," was her answer.
"Why don't you use the scale to pair them," I suggested.
I walked away and left her and her companion to their work. I returned about ten minutes later.
"Miss Dyer, I know they don't all weigh the same even though they look the same. I get that. But what is inside them that makes them that way?" she asked with a very serious expression.
"Maria Montessori designed these materials and she called it built in abstraction and isolation of properties," I said knowing that this made no sense to the child and why would it.
"Well, can I have a hammer so that I can crack them open and see what is inside?" she said with an even more serious expression.
"I can't let you do that, but you could make your own set of this material. You would be able to see in making them why some may be heavier or lighter than others. I will get you some supplies. You get an apron and a place mat," I said while wondering to myself where I was going to find all of these promised items.
Luckily, I had several plastic, label containers and some paint designed for decorating glass or plastic. I also had a good supply of sand that I keep on hand to replenish the sand tray. Whew!
I brought the materials over to her table. Her observer was now an active participant. Soon they were painting the containers so that you could not see how much sand was inside of each of them and visually determine pairs instead of actually weighing them.
It wasn't long before I saw them pouring sand into two of them and weighing them so that they would be a matched set.
It was pretty amazing to see them working so passionately on the making of their own Montessori materials.
They will finish them tomorrow. I will post a photo of the material when completed.