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Montessori Sensorial: Sound Cylinders Lesson


The Montessori Sound Cylinders are part of the Sensorial area of the classroom. The Sound Cylinders focus on refining a child’s auditory sense. Montessori Sound Cylinders are beautiful if you have the resources to purchase them. Amazon has reasonably priced Montessori Sound Cylinders available through FAC System.

Montessori Sensorial: Sound Cylinders

Montessori Outlet is also an excellent resource for well-priced Sound Cylinder materials. Sound Boxes are an accessible material to create yourself. One example is from Simply Montessori (look on Craigslist for old 8mm film canisters).

Of course, the venerable Deb at Living Montessori Now has an extensive post on Sound Cylinders. I created SoundBoxes for our home using jewelry boxes and beans. Pretty inexpensive and straightforward.

Montessori Sensorial - Sound Cylinders

Although there are limited materials within Auditory, the variations and extensions seem endless and are my favorite within the Sensorial Area. Listening exercises draw children into the work, and getting children moving is often integrated into the work.

Language development opportunities are abundant as children identify sounds in their environment—a post on variations and extensions to come soon.

The Sound Cylinders Lesson: Presentation I

Montessori Sensorial - Sound Cylinders

“These are the sound cylinders. Let’s work with the blue box.”

Montessori Sensorial - Sound Cylinders

Use a 3-finger grip to lift cylinders and line them up from left to right. Place the empty box over the lift and in the upper left corner of the rug.

Montessori Sensorial - Sound Cylinders

  • Lift the cylinder to the right ear and shake it three times. Repeat with each cylinder.
  • Invite the child to do the work: “Would you like to hear the sounds?

Sound Cylinders Lesson: Presentation II

Prepare the boxes ahead of time to include only the loudest and softest cylinders.
Montessori Sensorial - Sound Cylinders

  • “Would you like to try something new with the sound cylinders? I’ll carry the red box. You carry the blue box.”
  • Place boxes in the center of the mat, remove the lids and place them in the upper left corner of the rug.
  • Remove cylinders one by one from the left box, then the right box
  • Move the two end cylinders down and slightly below the remaining cylinders to form an inverted “V.”

Montessori Sensorial - Sound Cylinders

  • Shake each cylinder from left to right, offering the child a turn.
  • Say to the child: “Now, let’s try to find a match.”
  • Isolate the lower left cylinder by moving it slightly down and to the left. Shake it and put it down. Please pick up the lower right cylinder, shake it, put it down, and shake the control again. Place it back into the original spot if it isn’t a match. If it is a match, shake the mate, shake the control, then bring the control to the right side of the mate.
  • Shake the control. Shake the mate. “These two are the same. They match.”
  • Move matched pair side by side to the upper left.
  • Repeat the matching steps with the remaining cylinders.

The Sound Cylinders Lesson: Presentation III

Add one or two new pairs of cylinders at each presentation until there are 12 cylinders or six pairs total. Be sure to prepare the boxes before the presentation. Arrange the cylinders in an inverted “V” and proceed as in Presentation II.

Montessori Sensorial - Sound Cylinders

The Sound Cylinders Lesson: Presentation VII

Montessori Sensorial - Sound Cylinders

  • “Would you like to learn something new with the sound cylinders? We’ll get one box. Which one should we choose?”
  • Remove cylinders from the box and place them in a horizontal line.
  • Say to the child: “Now I am going to find the loudest sound.” Shake each cylinder, moving left to the right. Pause and think when finished.
  • “I think this one is the loudest.” Move that cylinder below and to the left. Listen to each cylinder to recheck your decision.
  • “Now, I am going to find the softest.” Same procedure. “I think this one is the softest.” Move that cylinder to the lower right. Repeat the same procedure.
  • Continue looking for the “loudest cylinder left.” Always check the remaining cylinders.
  • When finished: “Would you like to arrange the cylinders from loudest to softest?”

As I mentioned, there are many ways to create your own DIY inexpensive Sound Cylinders. However, it is worth it if you want to purchase a set. Montessori Sound Cylinders can be purchased at a reasonable price from Amazon.

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