Number sense is the ability to understand the quantity of a set and the name associated with that quantity. Strong number sense developed in the early years is a key building block of learning arithmetic in the primary grades, as it connects counting to quantities, solidifies and refines the understanding of more and less, and helps children estimate quantities and measurements. © Erikson Institute’s Early Math Collaborative. Reprinted from Big Ideas of Early Mathematics: What Teachers of Young Children Need to Know (2014), Pearson Education.
February 25, 2019
Books are a powerful way to launch math investigations with children, but also with adult learners. Our Learning Labs often use picture books as a doorway into mathematics. Here, teachers explore multiple representations of the number five in Anno's Counting Book by Mitsumasa Anno.
Regardless of how high a preschooler can rote count, a child’s sense of what those numbers actually mean develops gradually. We call this understanding number sense, and it requires relating numbers to real quantities.
This bingo-like game allows children to think about numbers in different ways. It focuses children on the attribute of quantity of small sets and helps them build a more robust number sense.
This game played with a hula hoop and bean bags demonstrates all the math that can be explored with a simple tossing game. Each round gives children practice seeing and naming smaller parts of a total number in a variety of ways.
Moving from one activity to another just got a lot more mathematical with this simple routine that builds early number sense with preschoolers.
Transition time is a great time for mathematizing a daily routine. This dot card transition is a relatively simple routine that builds number sense in a concrete way.
Long before young children are writing equations with the equal sign, they are exploring how amounts that look different can actually be equivalent.
Creating grid games from classroom materials can be a great opportunity for fun and mathematical discussions involving small sets.
Grid games can be some of the earliest experiences children have with board games. And they can be both fun and mathematical.
This book is a delightful way to start a discussion about estimation in the early grades. Is it reasonable that Hugh Thomas caught a million fish?