To help students see the groups of two and three black keys on the piano I use these little figures of dogs and gates, as well as my piano builder. The reason I use dogs and gates is to pave the way for learning the white notes later. When they already remember the groups of two black notes as dogs, it’s easy to teach them that ‘doggy d’ is in the middle of these, and ‘g’ and ‘a’ are inside the gate.
Using these is very simple print out the cards, laminate if you wish, and fold them so they will stand up on the keys. Start by placing one of the dogs on a group of two black keys, and ask your student to find all the other dogs. Then try the gates. This can be done either on the actual piano or on the piano builder.
You can download the gate & dog cards to print them out for your own piano studio. If you have any questions leave them in the comments below and I’ll do my best to help!