332 THE MONTESSORI METHOD
bold front in order to hide the pain of the disappointment; others show this disappointment by involuntary gestures. Still others cannot hide the smile which is called forth by the singular situation in which they find themselves, and which will make their friends curious. There are little ones who follow every movement of their companions with a look of desire, almost of envy, while others show instant acceptance of the situation. No less interesting are the expressions with which they confess to the holding of the zero, when asked during the verification, " and you, you haven't taken anything V "I have zero." " It is zero." These are the usual words, but the expressive face, the tone of the voice, show widely varying sentiments. Rare, indeed, are those who seem to give with pleasure the explanation of an extraordinary fact. The greater number either look unhappy or merely resigned.
We therefore give lessons upon the meaning of the game, saying, " It is hard to keep the zero secret. Fold the paper tightly and don't let it slip away. It is the most difficult of all." Indeed, after awhile, the very difficulty of remaining quiet appeals to the children, and when they open the slip marked zero it can be seen that they are content to keep the secret.
ADDITION AND SUBTRACTION FROM ONE TO TWENTY I MULTIPLICATION AND DIVISION
The didactic material which we use for the teaching of the first arithmetical operations is the same already used for numeration; that is, the rods graduated as to length which, arranged on the scale of the metre, contain the first idea of the decimal system.
The rods, as I have said, have come to be called by the numbers which they represent; one, two, three, etc. They