In Montessori, 3-part cards are used in Primary (3-6) to teach the names of things found in our world. In Elementary (6-9), definitions are given to add another layer of information.
For Primary (3-6): 3-part cards consist of a picture, a label (the name of the picture), and a control card with the picture and the label together.
For Elementary (6-9): 3-part cards consist of a picture, a label, and a definition. The cards can be coded on the back as a control, or the child can be given control cards or a labeled chart to use for checking their work.
Using 3-part Cards in 3-6:
To use the cards, the child will need a large surface like a work rug on the floor, or a large table.
The child should put the picture cards across the top of the rug or table. Then they should match the labels to the picture. Last, they should use the control card to check each picture/label.
Using 3-part Cards in 6-9:
The child should put the picture cards across the top of the rug or table, starting with the “whole” picture (the one that has all the parts colored in). Then they should match the labels and definitions, reading each definition before setting it down.
When finished, the child should have access to control cards (you can store them in a separate spot or put them together in a booklet), a large picture on a chart or poster that shows the parts labeled correctly (wall chart), or stickers/dots on the backs of the cards so that when flipped over, they can see if they matched the three parts correctly.
For both age groups, when the child is finished matching the cards, they should draw a picture or write a fact from the cards on their paper, or both. For elementary age, the child can do additional research after finishing the cards, if desired, using library or online resources.