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Montessori in a Minute: Metal Fraction Insets

Metal fraction insets are an educational material used in Montessori elementary classrooms to teach our students about fractions and geometric shapes. Teachers introduce children to the set of 10 green metal frames with red fractions from the “whole” to the tenths. 


The metal frames represent fractions of a whole shape, usually a circle. The frames are painted in different colors to represent each unique fraction. The insets are colorful, visually appealing and use metal knobs for pincer-grip handling.


The Importance of Metal Fraction Insets

The Metal Fraction Insets are an excellent example of how Montessori education uses hands-on materials to help students engage with abstract mathematical concepts. Students interchange these insets within the frames and discover how each sliver helps to create a whole.

This exercise illustrates quantities that are less than one but higher than zero.


Children can manipulate the insets and discover how fractions relate to each other and the whole shape. The insets invite students to explore concepts like equivalent fractions, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of fractions.


An essential trait of Montessori materials is the emphasis on independence. The Metal Fraction Insets are self-correcting, allowing children to work on the activity independently and develop a sense of accomplishment as they manipulate the fractions and see how they fit together to form the whole. This material also demonstrates how multiple pieces can come together to create a whole and imbeds the knowledge for when fractions get translated into a written form.


The insets also refine fine motor control, pincer grasp, and handwriting skills. This tactile approach helps children develop a deeper understanding of fractions and lays the foundation for future advanced mathematical concepts and abstract computation. Once students comprehend the insets, teachers introduce the written symbols for each fraction. 


The Montessori in a Minute Series

The Montessori In A Minute series regularly explores the unique benefits of Montessori philosophy, its fundamental materials, and areas of the classroom. For all parents at Hudson Montessori School (Jersey City, New Jersey), the school hosts Parent Education Nights every year to teach parents about the Montessori method and how the students learn curriculum components using a Montessori framework.


Contact us to learn more about Hudson Montessori School's theme-based learning approach to education, the Montessori philosophy and methodology, or how the school fosters the love of learning for children aged 2 to eighth grade.




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