This concept appealed to me so much when I first saw it.
One of my children is a visual/kinesthetic learner and I thought this would be perfect for her. The idea of saying the multiplication facts while wrapping yarn around the appropriate nails would engage her, no doubt.
My oldest daughter loves the concept because it is based on number patterns. I didn't realize that the shape pattern created will be the same for any two numbers that add together to make 10; ie. 1 + 9; 2 + 8; 3 +7; 4 +6.
But no matter how great the idea was, I still needed the slabs of wood. Isn't it frustrating that something so simple could put a great project on the back shelf? But with a million other things to do, it did. Until this past weekend when my husband brought in the perfect round log for the fireplace! I explained the concept and before I knew it, he had cut the slabs for me. Love it!
We didn't have a means of measuring angles on hand, so we showed the girls how to estimate equal spacing. With three hammers in three little hands, they pounded all the nails in.
Today, I had my daughter type out some of the multiplication charts in an Excel file that we printed and laminated to use as guides. She really loves this idea and seems to be motivated to practice her multiplication tables which is all I could have asked for.
If you search on Pinterest for Waldorf Mulitplication, you will discover many, many videos, demos, etc.
Here are a few videos that explain how to use the circles that my girls really liked:
:: Video Explanation of all the number wheels. The teacher goes too quickly for the kids to keep
up with wrapping but it's a good overview: http://youtu.be/mXLzLhfJgxM
:: Video explanation of 3's & 7's: http://youtu.be/8TnEbL9vK5A
:: Video explanation of 2's & 8's: http://youtu.be/tWaVvL3ygpI
Our goal is to have the kids use these every morning as a quick refresher for the 5th grader and a memorization tool for the 3rd grader.
There are a lot of extension activities with this concept on Pinterest for math notebooks and even translating it into a real movement activity with sidewalk chalk.
I like this notebooking idea which credits the Rudolf Steiner School but the link doesn't connect to a site, only a photo. You can get the idea from the picture though. http://www.rudolfsteinerschool.org/images/2_multiplication.jpg
There's a link to my Pinterest account to the right. The "Homeschool Math" board is dedicated to visual/kinesthetic ideas for teaching math.
Let me know if you try and have any luck with this.