Short Bead Chains, Bead Squares and Arrows

A detailed guide to understanding the Short Bead Chains and Bead Squares material and how it is used within the Early Years curriculum.

How does it work?

Guidepost's short bead chains, bead squares, and arrows comprise the ideal set for introducing the young child to linear counting, skip counting, and – eventually – multiples and squaring. Vibrant, 7mm beads match the Montessori colors for the numbers 1 through 10.

Prerequisite Skills - Work with this material presupposes:

  • Ability to count, write, and read numbers to 10
  • Work with the Teen Beads and Boards, as well as the Golden Bead Material, are recommended though not critical
Skip Counting Short Chains

Sample lesson.

Start by watching this sample lesson from our Guidepost Homeschool platform that will familiarize you to the Short Bead Chains, Bead Squares, and Arrows in 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 material. Note that some Montessori parts are very small – be mindful not to inadvertently discard anything.

The arrows for the short bead chains come in ten plastic boxes, numbered from 11-20 with small stickers on the bottom of each box. These numbers are factory-related and do not have a bearing on the use of the material, so feel free to remove them. Break apart the colored arrows and return them to their respective plastic boxes.

For storage at the shelf, arrange the bead chains in horizontal straight lines on a tray, in order from 1 to 10. The 10-chain will need to be folded to fit. Place the squares in a pyramid formation in a corner of the tray alongside the plastic boxes with the arrows.

If you would like a vertical storage solution, consider a series of ten ½" cup hooks mounted in a row on your wall, each about 2 inches apart. Cup hooks screw easily into drywall and the holes aren’t difficult to fix up later on once you’re done with them. Hang the bead chains in order from 10 to 1, with 10 at the left and 1 at the right.

In general, for each short bead chain there is an arrow for every bead on the first bead bar, and after that each multiple up to the square of the number. For example, for the 5-chain there are arrows for the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, and 15.

Usage Tips - See the photo reference for what skip counting looks like in process. Always return the arrows to their respective boxes when finished with the work.

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 this material 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 this material is used

    Math: (4-6) Linear and Skip Counting

    • Skip Counting Short Chains
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