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Meredith
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Posted: July 12 2007 at 4:10pm | IP Logged Quote Meredith

ALmom wrote:
Ok, I have the metal insets and am really confused about which are supposed to inscribe in which. Most of my pieces inscribe in the circle except:

the square (the circle inscribes in the square)
the rectangle
the triangle
the 4 sided figure with 2 sides parallel and 2 sides not.

Now the info I have is that all but the parallelogram should inscribe - but I have more than 1 parallelogram (including the square, rectangle). I would not expect the quadrilateral described above to be inscribed in a circle but then maybe there is something I don't know. The triangle is certainly not a parallelogram so I thought it would inscribe in the circle - it is too big and actually fits in the square, having its base equal to the length of the square's side.

What exactly should fit where.


OK, I just tried all my insets (from Montessori Outlet) and the ones that inscribe in the circle are as follows: curved triangle, quatrefoil, ellipse, oval, and the pentagon. You are correct in that the triangle, square, rectangle, and rhombus do not fit.

ALmom wrote:
I also have a question about warping? Do you call right away?

YES!! They are very happy to replace without shipping or returns, call today

ALmom wrote:
Do you always have returns/items needing attention when you order Montessori materials? I've been a bit shocked by the extent of problems with orders.

No, and I have had only just a *few* little things, nothing shocking or unfixable, the companies have been excellent and I will be ordering again in the future for sure.

Please keep asking, cause we're all learning right along with you Janet, thanks for sharing it here!!

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Posted: July 12 2007 at 7:23pm | IP Logged Quote ALmom

Meredith:

Now I'm really confused by my orders. I got my insets from the same place you did - but it doesn't have a rhombus (well I guess the square is a special rhombus), it has a trapezoid. So how does this effect things when you start doing extension work with them? I guess it isn't a huge deal, but I do know that Montessori designed a lot of materials so the students would discover a lot of relationships on their own. Now if you are planning on mostly using Montessori with a pre-schooler and then transitioning to CM or something, this isn't such a big deal. But I need my older dc to be challenged on a higher conceptual level by the material while working on handwriting/ coordination issues so the ability to do all the extensions intended is really critical to me - it will be the only thing that will keep them at it long enough to benefit from the other aspects. It does look like they do have a relationship to the square so we may be able to do things anyway and it probably isn't a big deal - not worth hassling with. I'm just curious about what it really is supposed to be.

I know initially I'm using them primarily as handwrting development, but since I'm starting Montessori with a 4 yo, 6 yo, 10yo and 13 yo, everything I'm getting has to be still functional as extension activities or it simply isn't cost effective. As much as we hope and pray for another child, this is not likely barring miraculous intervention so it is not like there will be lots of littles using this after this youngest one and he is almost 5 and if the extensions are limited by incorrectly measured material, then it won't keep my older ones long enough. They are not particularly fond of anything involving pencil in hand so it has got to grab them by the math or science concepts. Art is not a fun activity in our house - except for the 15 yo.

I did call about the problems with my botany insets and e-mail photos (as requested) of the insets from the botany cabinet (another company than MO) but am responsible for postage back to the company for these. I may call tomorrow and make sure they got my photo attachments. I also had one puzzle piece crumble when I opened it so that should be replaced as well. They said it may be a while before I get these items. My dh felt the very slight imperfections on the puzzles weren't worth worrying about, so I did let them know that we felt the puzzles were fine after all, other than the broken piece.

I guess I'm just shocked at how much hassle it has been and I am a bit worried about my backordered MO stuff which hasn't arrived yet (the majority of my order from them). The replacements from them were very, very nice - but my initial rods were off by 1/2 to 1 mm even on length cut. One metal inset didn't even fit in the metal frame and the bead bars were broken or warped. All was replaced and they were the least hassle in the end and none of the shipping involved in replacing defective items cost me anything - at least so far. All the replacements were really, really nice - and we are very pleased with these. I'm just dreading what seems to be inevitable inspection and return of items. How long does it take for MO backorders to come in? They were very, very prompt with replacements for the defective items. I may not have any of my botany replacements or my MO backorder stuff for the start of the school year.

I think Mackfam and I are planning to compare our materials at some point (probably a long time from now, when things are settled again) since we ordered a lot of the same things from different companies. I really am curious if there is much difference in quality. If not, then my decisions on where to order will be based on who gives a satisfaction guarantee (especially free shipping on returns of defectives) and price. I want to be assured, in the future, that any defective items will be replaced at no cost to me.

Maybe I'm just too cheap - but even the discount places are pretty pricey so it was a huge investment to us. I know we wouldn't even be able to touch Niehaus or Bruins. I just am nervous because I'm still just learning about Montessori and don't want to end up with material that I cannot use later, because it doesn't quite meet standards and you cannot see the principals that are supposed to be discovered. But because I'm new at this, I don't always know what to check for at first.

Janet

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Meredith
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Posted: July 12 2007 at 8:13pm | IP Logged Quote Meredith

OK, I am confused now as well as my set from Montessori Outlet is pretty straight forward. Is it just that maybe you are confusing the rhombus and calling it a parallelagram. I just checked the MWEI presentations and I do see that they have a parallelagram rather than the rhombus??? I'll research a little more tomorrow if I get a chance. Theresa, what set did you order, what can you add here for Janet, Eleanor, Jennifer, Kristin, anyone...?

I can sympathize with your dissatisfaction and hassle. It's a drag to have to mess with these issues, I totally understand. Give yourself a chance to work with some of the materials, I think it will come together for you.
HTH, somewhat, blessings!

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Posted: July 12 2007 at 8:47pm | IP Logged Quote Mackfam

I just checked and my set from Kid Advance works just like your sets. However, those that don't fit in my circle, will inscribe in the square.

So...inscribing in the circle:
pentagon
oval
ovoid
quatrefoil

And...inscribing in the square:
circle
pentagon
trapezoid
triangle
quatrefoil
rectangle

The curved triangle doesn't fit in either, but it's sooo close to fitting in the square, that I think on paper, it would trace nicely within the shape of the square.

It was my understanding Janet, from the presentations here that you actually do the inscribing on paper, so you might trace the circle on paper, then choose another shape, the pentagon maybe and trace it on top of the square, coloring and shading differently. There are enough geometric shapes that fit for me to do quite a number of extensions.

I think we could benefit from Lori on this one.    Lori...your little ducklings need you

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Edited to say that I made a mistake calling my shape a rhombus - it is a trapezoid! After looking it up in the Neinhuis catalog, the scale and geometric shapes look the same. There's no way their trapezoid inscribes in their circle. I think our sets are ok.

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Posted: July 12 2007 at 10:08pm | IP Logged Quote ALmom

No Meredith: the parallelograms I have are the rectangle and the square (both special forms of a parallelogram). A rhombus is a parallelogram - like a square but without right angles. I do not have any other parallelograms besides the square and rectangle. Instead of a rhombus (like a square but not with right angles), I have a trapezoid, which is not even a parallelogram - it has two sides parallel and 2 sides not parallel, so there is a short top so to speak. I don't mind this variation at all necessarily and I suppose I could make some of my own insets for anything that is missing. It would just take a protractor and some geometry construction techniques. So I am really, really not upset with MO on this one - just my math brain coming out and wanting to understand - kind of like my going nuts over missing pieces of things that most people just toss or spending hours calculating every possible path to steal the jewel in a board game. Just my guirk.

My insets are all really quite related in some mathematical way to each other, so everything is somehow related - ie the triangle incribes in the square as does the circle. One side of my trapezoid is the same length as the square. A lot of my stuff is measured really well. I just find it confusing that MO who claims to meet all AMI standards would have such variation since Montessori was so particular about what is included and the proportions. Anyways, I'm not unhappy with this - just a bit baffled. I'll be curious to hear what Lori has to say. If all else fails, I could always order a specific inset later or make one with wood since I'd only need straight edges for the missing/different sized ones. It might even become a child's woodworking project. I have lots of ideas for these insets. I want my children to be able to put the inset in the other one and trace the leftover so to speak and then trace this and cut it to calculate area - making the pieces into other shapes that they already know how to calculate area for. (Just one of my math ideas and not sure it is anything Montessori does - just one of my own ideas - things like calculating pi with thousands of little pieces of paper. ) I'm a math geek right now.   You have to understand that I'm working with really older children and basic shapes are going to get boring for them pretty quiclkly - but I've got to keep em at these insets to develop the lagging writing skills. Necessity is the mother of invention so I'm thinking of all the things we can do. It may even be good that this variation has gotten me thinking. This could all be done on paper, true, but with the lag in writing skills, the inset in the inset allows them more success because you don't have to contend with wiggling and the exact placement so you have accurate drawings. Artists probably won't have trouble. My children with depth perception issues might without the insets being a self-correcting mechanism until they get the idea and gain a bit of skill.

Janet
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Posted: July 12 2007 at 11:11pm | IP Logged Quote Eleanor

Janet, we don't have the full set of insets yet (just a smaller plastic set that I found in a teachers' supply store), but I just looked on the Nienhuis web site, and their set also has a trapezoid, but no rhombus or parallelogram.   Same goes for Juliana Group, which sells Gonzagarredi materials.

These are both AMI-approved manufacturers... so, unless I'm missing something, it sounds like you might have the "real thing" after all.



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Posted: July 12 2007 at 11:16pm | IP Logged Quote lapazfarm

Ok, now you've got me curious! i am 4000 miles form my set right now, so I can't check what inscribes in what, but the ones I ordered are pictured here
and very clearly show a trapezoid (2nd figure, top row) and not a rhombus. No parallelograms except the square and rectangle.
Does that help at all?


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Posted: July 12 2007 at 11:22pm | IP Logged Quote lapazfarm

ALmom wrote:
   I have lots of ideas for these insets. I want my children to be able to put the inset in the other one and trace the leftover so to speak and then trace this and cut it to calculate area - making the pieces into other shapes that they already know how to calculate area for.

Janet

Hey, Janet. Check out this page from JMJ and scroll down to the Yellow Triangles for Area. It may be just the thing for that idea!

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Posted: July 13 2007 at 9:41am | IP Logged Quote Meredith

lapazfarm wrote:
Ok, now you've got me curious! i am 4000 miles form my set right now, so I can't check what inscribes in what, but the ones I ordered are pictured here
and very clearly show a trapezoid (2nd figure, top row) and not a rhombus. No parallelograms except the square and rectangle.
Does that help at all?


Sorry guys, called the trapezoid the rhombus, I had a tough day yesterday and didn't mean to be confusing Janet, sorry . We all have the same set I am sure if it is from MO, so unless they are shippig different ones than the picture that Theresa linked, I think we're all on the same page here.

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Posted: July 13 2007 at 1:15pm | IP Logged Quote ALmom

Yeah, confusion cleared. I'll be checking out the linked page from JMJ - thanks. It looks like we all have the same basic set and I guess the triangle is supposed to inscribe in the square, not in the circle so everything is at least consistent - that is very relaxing to a math brain.

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Posted: July 13 2007 at 9:29pm | IP Logged Quote Genevieve

Kristin wrote:
Genevieve, how many of those would fit on a standard cookie sheet? They are smaller than the metal ones and some people may be interested in this option!

Kristin


Sorry it took so long for me to reply. Just finished making my pin maps. Boy did was that fun with BOTH my children helping. *hee hee*

Anyway, each square inset are 5.5 " by 5.5". Fitting them all in would depend on the size of your cookie sheet. I would say if you plan to store them with multiple layers of cookie sheets, they would slide around. Lining the cookie sheet with felt might help. I know of someone who put magnets at the back of the inset. I just store them loosely in the box with the other stencils.

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Posted: July 27 2007 at 12:09am | IP Logged Quote SuzanneG

I found this thread in the archives.

Christine attribute blocks for the metal inset activity. Hmmmmm......

And, Natalia found these that are similar, but plastic. Although, not nec. all that much cheaper. The metal ones are $30. (no stands)

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Posted: Aug 08 2007 at 4:07pm | IP Logged Quote SuzanneG

We rec'd these Super Ferby Colored Pencils and they work really well for the metal insets. They are hard lead (but smooth, easy application), indestructible, thick lead (6mm), colorful, big and triangular. The shorter version (Little Ferbies) are what is in both the Montessori Services and Montessoir-n-Such catalogue for drawing/writing. We love 'em. So, there's my plug.... And, I think I've talked enough about colored pencils the past couple of days, so I'll shut up now .

And, all you Metal-Inset-People-Who-Are-Going-To-The-Conference this weekend.......Elizabeth was going to try to get samples of these and others from Paper, Scissors, Stone.....so be on the lookout! The Super Ferbys are worth every penny!


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Posted: Aug 09 2007 at 2:58pm | IP Logged Quote MarilynW

Aagh - I thought I had made my decisions - and then I saw these. The insets look awesome -also the presentation. What else do you do with them? I have to try and justify the $. I think Montessori Outlet is the best price. Suzanne, I love your paper post - I am very envious about all those beautifully cut stacks

I think that the 3 year old would love these. Also the 8 year olds - who definitely need to improve their handwriting.

Any advice on these would be appreciated.

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Posted: Aug 09 2007 at 4:15pm | IP Logged Quote SuzanneG

Marilyn:
You don't have to buy the whole set up. The INSETS-only (at Montessori Oulet) are $34.   
Here's a thread on making your own stands. And, you don't NEED the tray.

We sure do love them! But, they're still "new" here. I'd love to hear from others who have had them for awhile; do the kids work with them a lot?

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