Do you know what these strange cube things are? What are they used for? What exactly do they teach?
If you've never been into a Montessori classroom it's possible you've never seen these before. If you have been into a Montessori (3-6yrs) classroom you may have seen them, your child may have even shown you how to use them?
I was introduced to the Binomial and Trinomial Cubes at a Parent's Maths night at our Montessori School in Canberra, many years ago. If you can make it, these nights are really worth it, at least once in your parenting journey.
The Binomial and Trinomial Cubes are Montessori Sensorial Materials found in the Cycle One (3-6yrs) Classroom. The Binomial Cube is introduced first and then later the Trinomial Cube.
The blocks are colour coded and are different sizes to represent the algebraic Binomial and Trinomial formulas. The purpose is not to teach maths but to challenge the child to find patterns and spatial relationships. It is best to think of these as three-dimensional puzzles.
The child is taught through demonstration to systematically deconstruct then reconstruct the cube. Each cube has a control image on the lid of the box which may assist the child. They also have a control of error, when they are successfully completed they will form a perfect cube.
These are fantastic hands on learning materials that indirectly prepare the child for maths and later algebra. They are good examples of the child learning the concrete before learning the abstract concept.
The Binomial Cube is a concrete representation of the algebraic formula (a + b)3, you can find the full formula here.
The Trinomial Cube is the physical representation of the trinomial formula (a+b+c)³, you can find the full formula here. Above is the Trinomial Cube Layer One.
Layer Three and finished! The child can also build the cube outside of the wooden box or while wearing a blindfold, using their sense of touch only.