Mar 312016

Montessori Lesson


3 years approx.


Two wooden boxes each containing 6 cylinders, which are filled with different objects so that when shaken they have a different sound. One box has a blue lid and blue topped cylinders. The red topped box has red topped cylinders.


To help awaken and refine the child’s auditory sense.


To aid the child’s auditory memory.
To aid the child’s auditory perception.
To give the child experience in matching.
Discrimination and judgement


  1. Individual exercise done at a table. Bring both the boxes to the table. Remove the lid from the red set and place it underneath the box.
  2. Show the child how to hold the cylinder by its middle between the thumb and forefinger of one hand. Hold the cylinder by the right ear and give it two sharp shakes downward, listening intently to the sound it makes. Then hold it a few centimeters from the other ear and listen to it in the same way fixing the sound into your memory.
  3. Replace the cylinder on the mat. Listen to all the cylinders in this way and invite the child to listen.
  4. Arrange these red cylinders randomly in a vertical line on the left-hand side of the mat. Now place the blue lid under its box, remove the blue cylinders and place them in a group on the right hand side. Tell the child that the blue and red cylinders sound exactly the same. Proceed to match the cylinders.
  5. Take one of the red cylinders and bring it to the front of the mat. Listen to the cylinder as before. Take a blue cylinder from the line and listen. If the two cylinders do not match return the blue cylinder to the box to isolate it. Listen to the next blue cylinder until a match is found. If a match is found say “these two sound the same” and place the matched pair in the centre of the far edge of the mat. Allow the child to listen to the match.
  6. When all 6 pairs have been matched, shake each matched pair in turn, one cylinder at a time, from far to near, and invite the child to do the same.
  7. Separate the 6 pairs as before and offer the child a turn.


  1. Take out all the cylinders from one of the sets and tell the child that you are going to grade the cylinders.
  2. Arrange the red cylinders in a random row from left to right, at the centre of the mat. Shake each cylinder in the row, as many times as is needed to determine which is the loudest. If, necessary keep repeating and compare, two or three that are close in sound. Remove the loudest cylinder from the row and place it in front of the empty red box near the left-hand side of the mat.
  3. Of the remaining cylinders again determine which is the loudest and place the next loudest cylinder just in front of the first loudest along the left hand edge of the mat.
  4. Continue until all 6 cylinders have been graded.
  5. Either, let the child listen to the graded set or else take out the blue set and let the child grade these in the same way.
  6. When this done the child can check his graded set against your set by shaking each corresponding pair in turn.
  7. If the child shows great difficulty grading, on another day give the same presentation but take out only three cylinders from each colour.


Give a three period lesson on the terms: loud and soft.
Give a three period lesson on the comparatives and superlatives of loud and soft such as loud, louder, loudest and the same with the soft, louder, loudest set or soft and softer.

Extension / game

Place the cylinders from one box on a tablemat and those from the other box on a table mat some considerable distance away. At the first mat, isolate one cylinder for the child to listen to and ask the child to find the matching cylinder on the distant mat and to bring it back to verify the match.


Each pair of cylinders sounds the same.
Each pair of cylinders have a matching symbol underneath them.

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