Lockdown Day 61 – Baric sense
Education of the Senses
By now you will know that Montessori placed much value on the child learning through the senses. We have previously explored the visual (#19/47), tactile (#26), stereognostic (#33), olfactory (#40), and gustatory (#54) senses.
Another sense that we explore in our Montessori classrooms is the BARIC sense – the sense related to weight.
Weight as a concept is part of MEASUREMENT, which is an important pre-mathematical skill for children to understand.
Young children apply early concepts of measurement in many of their everyday activities. They compare sizes of toys, portions of food, their heights, the weights of their school bags, and the lengths of their shoes. In doing this, children also begin to develop the vocabulary of measurement and comparison, using terms such as longer, shorter, taller, shorter, lighter, heavier (see adjective tip #42).
With practice and experience, the young child’s sense of measurement develops to include new skills. The child comes to understand that objects can be measured in different ways, depending on the attribute of interest. For example, at first, they might consider size when deciding who has the ‘biggest’ ball. Yet if asked to decide which ball is the ‘heaviest’, they come to understand that weight is the most appropriate measurement to make that comparison.
DEVELOPING THE BARIC SENSE
In the Montessori classroom, the baric sense is developed with a material Montessori called the Baric Tablets. This material allows the child to experience the concept of light and heavy before it is named.
You can adapt this material to give the child a similar experience in the home.
YOU WILL NEED
A variety of small objects of different weights. These should be able to be balanced on the child’s opened hand.
A blindfold (or a scarf tied around the child’s eyes).
* Ask the child to sit opposite you with the selection of objects between you.
* Explain that you are going to be discussing these objects today in a game, but that you will not be using your eyes for this (hence the scarf).
* Assist the child in putting on the blindfold (or tie the scarf around the child’s eyes). If the child is very uncomfortable with this, then you can also just ask the child to close her/his eyes.
* Ask the child to extend both arms towards you with the palms facing up. Tell the child that you will be placing one object onto each hand.
* Select two objects of differing weights – one must be heavier than the other. Place one object in each hand and allow the child to experience the ‘feeling’ of the weights.
* Touch the hand that has the object on it that is lighter and tell the child: This object is LIGHT. Then touch the hand that has the object on it that is heavier and say: This object is HEAVY. Ask the child to repeat the words after you.
* Continue doing this a couple of times with different objects.
* After a while, place the objects on the child’s hands and then ask the child: Which one of these objects is HEAVY? Which one is LIGHT? This requires the child to use her/his own developing understanding of the concept to emerge.
* A little later still, place two objects on the child’s hands and then touch one of the child’s hands and ask the child: What is the WEIGHT of this object? The child will then have to tell you which one is light and which is heavy.
When you can see that the child has started to develop a good understanding of the concept, you can take away the blindfold and invite the child to take two objects at random and try to determine which is lighter and which is heavier by critical thinking.
– Which of these two objects do you think will be the heavy one?
– What makes you say that?
Then ask the child to test their hypothesis by picking up the two objects and ‘weighing’ them in their hands.
You can also then expand your objects to just about anything in the home!
Find all of our lockdown tips here – https://www.montessorisa.co.za/blog/