One of the most iconic and recognized Montessori Materials is the Pink Tower. This Primary material was developed by Maria Montessori to help young children fine tune their sensory discrimination skills. The Pink Tower is a series of ten cubes with dimensions 1 cm to 10 cm. The initial presentation shows the children how to order the cubes into a vertical tower from largest to smallest. Later activities include the child being asked to determine the largest cube on their mat and bring it from another place in the room. This challenges the child to hold the dimensions of the cube in his or her mind and apply the discernment necessary to select the requested cube. Once presented, the child can work independently with the ten cubes. As the child explores the material, you will often see variations of the vertical tower. This is all part of the child’s work.
The cubes of the Pink Tower are a geometrical solid representation of the cubes of one to ten. While working with the cubes, the child is experiencing the weight and mass of the 13 to 103 and therefore understands exponential growth in a very tangible way. In the Elementary, the students work with cubing of numbers. The cubing material builds on the child’s deep understanding of exponential growth experienced through work with the Pink Tower. This indirect preparation for higher level math often leads to a confidence in the work that allows the elementary student to explore binomial, trinomial, and other polynomial cubes with the same joy and enthusiasm they had for their work with the Pink Tower.