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Posted: Monday, January 9, 2006 9:59 am | Updated: 4:36 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

‘STAMP GAME’ TEACHES MATH: It’s never too early to introduce children to tough math problems. First- and second-graders in Kim Flanary’s Montessori class at Mesa’s Mendoza Elementary School have been tackling them since school resumed last week.

The "stamp game," created by Maria Montessori, uses postage stamp-sized tiles with "1," "10," "100" and "1,000" written on them to teach children the place value of numbers. The instructor gives the child a large number, and it’s the child’s job to illustrate the number by placing the right amounts of each tile in the place they belong.

PARENTS, TRY IT AT HOME:

• Create number tiles by cutting small squares out of construction paper. Label each "1," "10," "100" or "1,000."

• Write down a math problem. For example: 1,564 + 3,022.

• Have the child put in columns the correct number of tiles for each place value for the first number. Example: 1,564 would be shown with one "1,000" tile, five "100" tiles, six "10" tiles and four "1" tiles.

• Have the child do the same process for 3,022, and place those tiles beneath the existing columns for 1,564.

• Have the child total each column, from right to left, to determine the answer: 4,586.

THE BENEFIT: Math isn’t so scary in later grades when children are exposed to large numbers early through a "concrete and hands-on" approach, Flanary says.

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