Montessori Math Aids  How to Use Power of Two Cube
Posted by Agnes G. on
The Power of Two Cube is a great way to combine playing and learning mathematics. This cube is recommended for children age 2 to 6 but it can be used by younger and older kids. For younger as a stacker and older as a visual aid to explain exponentiation.
This cube represents mathematical expression 2^{n} (for this cube n is an integer from 1 to 5).
Remember that ways of playing with this cube are endless. Be creative and playful when explaining mathematics and your child might fall in love with math.
Here is a guidance how to introduce and use the Power of Two Cube.
Power of Two Cube
Recommended Age: 2  6 years old (best introduced at 3 years of age)
Materials
A wooden box which contains:

Three yellow cubes

Two white prisms

Two green cuboids
All pieces, once assembled, form a cube.
Before using all the materials and make sure that all the items are inside the box and cube is ready to be used.
Introduction
Perfectly you would wait until a child is interested in the cube and picks it up to play by him or herself. You can however invite a child to come and play with it. When the child shows interest and is ready to play, show the toy and tell its name. Encourage a child to pick it up and bring to play with. Make sure the is enough space to play with the cube (e.g. on a mat).
Procedure
 Remove the lid and pull down one side of the box and then another (only two sides of the cube can be opened)
 Carefully remove all the cubes, prisms and cuboids from the box one by one
 Once box is empty start assembling the cube in the box starting with the largest green cuboid
 Slowly search for the white large prism (half of the green cuboid) and place it in the box on top of the green cuboid
 Search for large yellow cube (half of the white prism) and place it in the box next to the white prism
 Search for smaller green cuboid (half of yellow cube used in the previous step) and place it in the box next to the yellow cube
 Search for smaller white prism (half of smaller green cuboid) and place it in the box
 There should be two small cubes left. Take them one by one and carefully place in the box so that they fit the gaps. When completed, the cube should be formed
 Close sides of the cube and cover with the lid
 Ask the child if he or she wants to play with the cube
Exercises
Exercises should be initially led by adult and then, when possible, played individually by the child.
1. Assemble a Cube
Let the child work individually with the cube as described in the procedure above.
2. Organize by Shape and Color
Invite a child to open the box and take the blocks out. Mix them. Sort the blocks by the color and shape. Blocks can be organised into three categories:
 Green cuboids
 White prisms
 Yellow cubes
Bring the child's attention that the blocks in each group have the same color and shape. Tell the child the names of the shapes (cuboid, prism, cube). Once done, mix the blocks and ask the child to sort blocks by him or herself.
3. Order from Smallest to Larges
 Invite a child to open a box and take the blocks out. Mix them.
 Take the two smallest cubes and put them in line (make sure you have enough space to form long line of blocks).
 Carefully search for larger block  that would be small white prism. Bring child's attention that the white prism is twice as large as smallest cube.
Explain that smallest cube might be considered as mathematical unit with which all the clocks could be measured.
 Search for block which is twice as large as white prism and put it in line
 Continue until all blocks are lined up from smallest to largest
Bring the child's attention to the fact that, apart from two smallest yellow blocks, each block is twice as large as the previous one. This represents mathematical equation of 2n (multiplication by 2)
4. Assemble an Object of the Same Size and Shape
Invite a child to mix blocks. Select one block and present it to the child. Tell the child that you will attempt to build exactly the same object with some of the remaining blocks.
Once done, mix the cubes and ask the child to select a block and build similar object with the remaining blocks.
5. Which One is Larger
This exercise is great for toddlers age around 2.
Select two blocks and ask which one is larger (or which one is smaller). Let the child think and answer  be playful.
Allow child to select two blocks assess which one is larger and which smaller.
Another variant of this exercise is to select a block and then find block which is twice as large as one selected.
6. Free Play  Go Creative
Invite a child to play with the blocks the way he or she wants. Make animals, airplanes, rockets. Go creative! Ask to assemble all block to the box when finished.
If you do not have Power of Two Cube, you can buy one here: