As my oldest child moves onward and upward at Maple Grove I am expanding my paltry knowledge of the Montessori materials used in Upper Elementary.

One such material is the algebraic pegboard which I got to see for the first time at our parent-teacher conference.

Isn’t it beautiful?

Once I started researching I realized that the algebraic pegboard can be used in lower elementary for factoring or small squares (<225) but it was introduced to me as a tool for understanding higher value squares and square roots.

In university I studied English and Math and I’m embarrassed to say that it wasn’t until I took third and fourth year courses that I understood the geometry behind basic (and not so basic) mathematical functions. It was a revelation to me that multiplication had a geometric interpretation.

And my child gets to have that revelation in elementary school (when of course it won’t be a revelation).

The description of how to use the algebraic pegboard to find the square root of 625 is here or, more colloquially, here. Then it gets more complicated….