In the real world we usually don’t count by ones, beginning with one. It takes too long. We find ways of getting to a number much faster. We may begin at a higher number we know and count on or count back. For example, you have groups of 10 stacks of plates, and you need 12, so you’ll just take a stack and add 11, 12 and now you have 12 plates. Or you need 7 plates, so you’ll take a stack and then take away 10, 9, and 8 so that you have 7.
These faster ways of counting work because of a rule for rational counting, the stable order rule. This rule states that the order of numbers is a fixed pattern, with each number representing a quantity that is always one more than the number that precedes it and one less than the number that comes after it. So put in another way, 4 is one more than 3 and 3 is one less than 4.
Children need experiences and practice counting in different, flexible ways while learning these rules of counting. And what better way to do that than through the books they love to hear over and over.
A favorite book and song is Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed. Counting with Five Little Monkeys is a classic activity, a counting down one, that kids love and love to act out in different ways. But you can extend their learning by asking all kinds of questions that touch on these rules of counting.
Counting has rules that apply to any collection. More
Counting can be used to find out “how many” is in a collection. More
Common Core Alignment
Counting and Cardinality More