The Snake Game is all about finding tens. Basically, you make a snake of beads using the bead stair beads and count along the snake until you reach ten. Then you exchange the ten beads with a golden 10 bead bar to make a golden snake.
In the initial version of the game, the teacher arranges the snake so that there are no remainder beads, thus no need for the black and white beads.
After your student understands that version of the game, you can introduce how to play when the beads aren’t so conveniently arranged to form neat tens.
Now you need a black and white (seen on the left of the photo) bead stair. The little card with a notch cut out is the place holder while the student finds the correct black and white bead to place, and the golden bar to exchange.
Here, Bear has counted the 10 beads, but is partway through a purple six bar. She needs to account for those 5 extra beads when she starts counting again, so she places the black five rod there and then exchanges the blue, yellow, and purple bar for a ten rod.
Except I just realized now looking at the photo that she made a mistake and I didn’t see it because I was so busy taking photos (lol).
She then starts counting at the first black bead.
And places her marker when she gets to ten.
She now needs a 6 black and white rod, but in reality she wouldn’t have needed any if she had had the correct black beads in the first step. Sigh. I should have seen that, but then again, I’m not supposed to correct too much if following Montessori.
I hope this explanation made sense.
If you don’t have the Montessori beads…
Use Lego “towers” (one red Lego = 1 red Montessori bead, 2 green Legos stuck together = 2 green Montessori bead.)
If you don’t have Legos or Montessori beads…
You can find the black and white(gray) beads to print here (came from this site).
You can print out a bead stair here (from this site). I am sure there is a way to add colors to the bead stair before printing it, but I don’t know. You could print one copy, color it, then photocopy or scan it. Then cut out the colored bead chains.
Linked to Math Mondays at Joyful Learner.