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The Montessori Baric Tablets: Purpose and Presentation

Montessori sensorial materials provide a lot of fun and fascination for young children. This is because their purpose is not clear to children and they feel free to explore the new concepts, free of pressure.

The Montessori Baric Tablets is one of the most fascinating sensorial materials. It’s actually the only Montessori sensorial material that isolates and refines a child’s baric sense.

In this article, you will learn what the Montessori Baric Tablets material is and how to present it. You will also get activity extension ideas.

image of ant and elephant on scale, representing weight comparison with the Montessori Baric Tablets.

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What are the Montessori Baric Tablets

The Baric Tablets in Montessori consist of a set of 3 boxes of 7 tablets, all made of wood and varying in weight.

The box of tablets that are light in weight are light in color. The medium-weight tablets are medium in color. And the heavy tablets are dark in color.

This material is designed to refine a child’s baric sense (weight), one of the 9 senses in Montessori.

The Baric Tablets is a pairing activity that not only helps develop the child’s sense of weight but is also an introduction to the concept of density.

This is because each tablet, no matter the weight, is the same size, which means each tablet varies in density. This is very fascinating for young children.

As with other Montessori activities, a 3-period lesson should accompany the presentation of the Baric Tablets.

Aims of the Montessori Baric Tablets

  • to develop the discrimination of weight

Indirect aims

  • refinement of control of movement

Control of error

  • the color of the tablets
  • the way each tablet feels

Points of interest

  • the color of the tablets relative to their weight
  • how each tablet’s surface feels
  • how tablets of the same size have different weights

How to present the Montessori Baric Tablets

Note: When this material is first introduced, only the heavy and light Baric Tablet boxes should be used. After the child has mastered using these boxes, the medium-weight box can be introduced.

Just as with the Touch Boards and other tactile activities, you and the child should wash hands prior to beginning.

  • Invite the child to carry one box of Baric Tablets to the table while you carry the other.
  • Remove the lids of both boxes and place the boxes to the upper left corner of the work space. (You may choose to set the boxes on top of the lids.)
  • Take on tablet from each box and place both in front of the child.
  • Gently pick up both tablets, the heavy one with your right hand and the light one with your right hand, resting them across your fingers.
  • Lift and lower each hand slowly to feel the difference in their weights.
  • Ask the child to hold out their hands and place the tablets in their hands; heavy on the left and light on the right, across their fingers.
  • Invite the child to lift and lower their hands and notice the difference in weight.
  • Take the light tablet from the child’s right hand and replace it with another heavy tablet from the box and ask them to again lift and lower their hands to compare weights.
  • Ask the child if the tablets are different weights or the same. If the child is correct, have them place the pair toward the top of the workspace. If they are incorrect, ask them to try again.
  • Using the light tablet that you have set aside and placing another light tablet on the childs other hand, ask the child to again compare the weights.
  • If the child is correct, have them place the pair toward the top of the workspace and just below the first pair. If they are incorrect, ask them to try again.
  • Moving the 4 tablets the child has worked with around the table in random order, ask the child to again make pairs of them.

Baric Tablets extension activities

  • stereognostic excercise (blindfolded)
  • grading the Baric Tablets based on weight
  • comparing the weight of a Baric Tablet to the weight of other Montessori materials or household items
  • sorting by weight using the entire contents of each box

The Montessori Baric Tablets is such a neat material for children to experience. The idea of isolating and refining the sense of weight is pretty fascinating to adults, as well!

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