Cylinder Block No.1

A detailed guide to understanding the Cylinder Block No.1 material and how it is used within the Early Years curriculum.

How does it work?

Cylinder Blocks are one of the most recognizable Montessori materials. Guidepost’s Cylinder Block No. 1 provides the child with practice at visual discrimination of size in that the height of the cylinders remains constant while the diameter decreases from thick to thin.

This material possesses a perfect example of the Montessori idea of a control of error: the cylinders won't all fit if one has been misplaced. In this way, the material is self-correcting, and the child can see for themself if they have completed the activity correctly.

Prerequisite Skills - As with all Sensorial materials, the Cylinder Block’s benefits are best enjoyed by the child who has developed their ability to work logically through multi-step tasks. The exercises of Practical Life are the ideal training ground for this. Extensive work with Practical Life activities or other real, everyday tasks is the best way to prepare a child for this and other Sensorial activities.

Introducing Cylinder Blocks

sample lesson.

Start by watching this sample lesson from our Guidepost Homeschool platform that will familiarize you to the Cylinder Block No.1 and its use.

If you are already subscribed to Guidepost Homeschool, scroll down to see all the corresponding lessons where this material is used in our curriculum. To unlock more than 2,000+ lessons subscribe to Guidepost Homeschool today.

how to set up.

Setup - Carefully remove all packaging materials. Note that some Montessori parts are very small – be mindful not to inadvertently discard anything.

When not in use, place the Cylinder Block on a low shelf that’s easily accessible to the young learner. It is a relatively heavy material, and the child needs to be able to grasp each end of the block easily with their hands. Being one of the first Sensorial materials that a child will use, the Cylinder Block belongs toward the left of all other Sensorial materials in your collection.

Usage Tips - The Cylinder Block is suitable for use either on a work rug on the floor or at a child-height table. 

  • Be sure to model that we mix up the cylinders in front of the block before using it, as in the picture shown.
  • An advanced use of this material is to invite the child to close their eyes or wear a blindfold while matching the cylinders to the block—this challenges the child to use their hands to feel the size of each cylinder instead of their eyes.

For Guidepost Homeschool subscribers

If you are already subscribed to Guidepost Homeschool, start in the order below to navigate to the corresponding lesson plans using the Cylinder Block No.1 in our Altitude learning platform.

Wondering about supplies used in particular lessons? Detailed materials lists can be found at the beginning of each lesson in Guidepost’s Altitude system, as well as on the materials cards at the beginning of each unit.

  • Corresponding Altitude lessons

    Lessons where the Cylinder Block No.1 is used

    Sensorial: (3-5) Visual Sense

    • Introducing a Cylinder Block
    • Follow Up: Using a Blindfold
    • Follow Up: Language Extension
    • Follow Up: Matching at a Distance
    • Follow Up: Matching at a Distance Using Language
  • What is Guidepost Homeschool?