Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Multiplication Checkerboard

This is one of my favorite Montessori materials for older math. It sort of works like the lattice multiplication but with manipulatives and it's more concrete. The dc didn't use it for very long, but it made the difference during that short time. You can make it as simple as gluing paper squares to cardboard or as fancy as actually doing a patchwork-type quilt. Mine is in the middle. I made this when I knew even less about sewing/quilting than I do now so please keep that in mind!

At the time I had some super old fabric crayons that you had to actually color on paper, then iron on the fabric. So I had to make it in mirror image and then iron the color onto the plain fabric. That was a pain and any quilters out there are probably wondering why I didn't just cut/sew the squares. Make sure that you leave a big enough border on the bottom and right for the number tiles.

Once that was done I quilted it with black for the back and finished the edges. I LOVE the quilted feel of the material and it was so easy to store - just roll or fold and tuck in the math shelf. The tiles are in a little plastic box (I think a little box that the T-pins came in that I used for pin maps).

[I tried to uploade from my webshots and it's not working, so here is the direct link...]


One thing to keep in mind is to use your own bead bars to determine the size of the squares. I think I used the standard size and felt that they were too small once we started working with it. You may want to pile 10 10-bead bars and see how much room that would take.

Enjoy your Multiplication Checkerboard (and let the dc use it sometimes too)!!

What's Cookin'?

I made the yogurt dough from Nourishing Traditions yesterday and used it to make empanadas. They're for dinner tonight or tomorrow but of course I had to taste test - delicious! I used some cooked pork sausage that was leftover from tacos, diced and boiled a potato from the farmer's market, and cooked some green beans from our garden. A bit of each made up the filling.

I happened to have a neat little gadget I got a million years ago from Pampered Chef that cuts and seals at the same time. After rolling out the dough I cut it in half with a pizza cutter. On one half I lightly scored it with the cut/seal just to know where to put my piles of filling. Then I brushed water lightly on the other half, set it on top of the half with filling, cut/sealed and moved them to a cookie sheet with parchment paper. I debated baking or frying but opted to bake at 350 F. They took about 30 minutes to bake to a light golden color.

These would make great snacks served with any variety of sauce or just by themselves. Light enough for snack or lunch, heavy enough for dinner. Mmmm. Now to decide what to serve with it...

Oh! I had a bit of extra dough so I rolled it out, cut into squares (okay, really they were rectangles), and fried them in palm oil. Next time I'll mix the salt into the dough right before doing this because it just bounced off when I tried to salt them after frying. Excellent 'chips'!

I also have Kelly's fermented tortilla dough on the counter ready to make. I used only wheat this time so we'll see how well it goes over with the family. The dough is not as pliable as when I use both wheat and white. Here is her most excellent tortilla recipe (and I've tried lots of tortilla recipes!):


I need to get some bone broth going. I'm going to try roasting the soup bones before making it this time and see if I like it better. I doubt I'll get to it today but it's on the backburner, so to speak.

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