Teaching Static Addition with the Montessori Stamp Game

By Andrea Coventry

Montessori addition activities become a little more abstract with use of the Stamp Game. Use this approach to challenge your students in math while having a little fun.

What is Static Addition Using a Stamp Game?

Static addition is the first step in concretely teaching children about addition. The term "static" means that there will be no exchanging or carrying when adding the two quantities.

The stamp game consists of a box of tiles, known as stamps. A group of green ones have the numeral 1 printed on them. A set of blue has the numeral 10 printed on them. A set of red tiles has the numeral 100 printed on them. A second set of green stamps have the numeral 1000 printed on them. Each stamp represents the quantity printed on it. The color scheme matches up to cards used in the Montessori math curriculum.

Also in the stamp game box are round counters, colored red, blue, and green. These are used to mark places for zero.

The stamp game box also contains skittles, which resemble red, green, and blue game pawns. These are used in different stamp game lessons.

Purpose of This Method

The stamps used in the stamp game are abstract representations of the golden beads, which take the child closer to pencil and paper work and memorization. Yet, they are still manipulative to concretely reinforce the addition process to the child.

Prior Learning Required for the Game

The child needs to have an understanding of the decimal system, which comes with work with the bank game, creating quantities, and the forty-five layout. He also should have worked with static addition with the golden beads.

Prior to the static addition lesson with the stamp game, the child should be shown how the stamps correlate to the golden beads and practice making quantities with them.

Required Materials Needed

  • Work rug (though some children may prefer to work at a table)
  • Stamp game box
  • Set of small and large numeral cards
  • Symbols of + and =

Playing the Stamp Game

Invite the child to the work rug or table for a lesson on static addition with the stamp game. Ask the child to set up two quantities that can be added together without carrying or exchanging, such as 2154 and 6724. Label them with the corresponding small cards.

Mix the stamps on the workspace, then sort them out by 1000s, 100s, 10s, and 1s, with thousands on the left and units on the right.

Commence counting the stamps on the right, with the 1s. When they have been counted, place the corresponding large card underneath, in this case 8.

Repeat the process with the 10s, 100s, and 1000s.

When the problem is finished, set up the numerals with the corresponding signs, just like you did with the golden beads. In this case, the equation should read 2154 + 6724 = 8878.

Independent Follow-Up Work

Children should be encouraged to independently practice static addition with the stamp game, using pre-printed problems on cards. These problems can include quantities in hundreds or tens, as well as in the thousands, for extra practice. Some can also include a zero.

Practice writing these equations on paper. Collect them in a booklet.