When children focus on what happens when we join two sets together or separate a set into parts, they learn about how quantities change. When they have lots of experience comparing amounts, they become familiar with thinking about differences between sets. And when they have opportunities to see how a single large set can be composed of two or more smaller sets, they get comfortable with the fact that larger numbers contain smaller numbers. These ways of mentally modeling real situations are what we mean by number operations. © Erikson Institute’s Early Math Collaborative. Reprinted from Big Ideas of Early Mathematics: What Teachers of Young Children Need to Know (2014), Pearson Education.
December 5, 2019
The math story this second grader solves is a change unknown story. There was a full carton of a dozen eggs but some were eaten, leaving only 3 eggs. After making sense of the problem, the child uses a counting up strategy to figure it out.
A second-grade student solves a variety of addition and subtraction math stories. Using his fingers as math tools, he is able to solve the stories, even as what is known or unknown shifts.
A second-grader works on basic number combinations as we see him playing a comparison card game, Capture It. He is accurate when comparing sums but is still developing his efficiency and flexibility, key indications of fluency.
Examining sets of unit blocks challenges educators to think about relationships of the blocks. A deeper understanding of the features of unit blocks empowers teachers to support children in ways that promote joyful math learning.
This second grader uses a known number combination (3 + 9) to solve a subtraction problem, showing an understanding of how addition and subtraction are related as inverse operations. Focus on the Child videos are taken from one-on-one interviews with individual children. The interviews are designed to elicit evidence of children’s mathematical thinking.
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