This very simple looking activity kit is an excellent tool for promoting concentration and experiential learning. The Baric Tablets are a sensorial activity that can be used for children age 4 and upward. They are a Montessori-developed manipulative, but can be used anywhere! It helps create awareness of the sensory perceptions that we are constantly taking in. These tablets are made up of three separate boxes which each contain about 6-8 wooden tablets. Although all of the tablets are the same size, each box contains tablets made of different types of wood (such as pine, beech and oak) and therefore they differ in weight.
These tablets can have multiple uses as an educational tool. They teach children how to exercise baric sense and differentiate between weights. The tablets are also useful tools to teach children how to use superlatives: heavy, light, heavier, lighter, heaviest, lightest. Finally, they also teach children to be mindful and observant about their environments.
Typically, the baric tablet is used by the teacher showing the student how to hold their hands (slightly above the table, palm up) and placing the light tablet one hand and the heavier tablet on the other hand—the student is then asked which tablet is heavier. This continues as the teacher continues to place different light and heavy tablets on the palms of the student. As the activity continues the student is also encouraged to wear a blindfold so they won’t be able to tell the weights by the colour. Soon the student should be able to mix the tablets and sort the weighted tablets on their own. Once they have mastered the heaviest and lightest weights, the teacher can then introduce the medium weight tablets to finely develop the student’s baric sense.
There are plenty of exercises that one can do with the baric tablets: such as ordering all of the tablets, and placing them back into their piles in the boxes, and playing with different combinations. These tablets are useful to build up to more complex math activities, and can also be a meditative tool to emphasize observation skills as well as focus.
If you’d like to play with them, you can find them in the Display and Play section of the library on the third floor.