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.
Number sense involves some Big Ideas that can be explored with children, such as:
August 11, 2020
As children start using number words, they don’t always have a sense of what those words really mean. Early on, we guide children to develop a meaningful number sense by focusing on small numbers.
En Español También. Do you remember enjoying fingerplay songs like 5 Little Monkeys or Un Elefante Se Balanceaba when you were young? You may not have realized that sharing these songs is a great way to bring math to life.
En Español También. Path games are fantastic ways for families to spend time together and have fun while doing math. Path games develop number sense, counting skills and, depending on children’s ages and the tools you use, computational fluency.
En Español También. Going for walks is an excellent time to talk about math with your child. You’ll be surprised how much math talk you can have when you look for the math in your very own neighborhood.
Children love to count. Counting helps them make sense of the world and to find out how many of something. With time and practice, children develop an understanding of the “rules” or principles of counting.
There are all kinds of things to count in pre-k to second grade classrooms. Counting Collections is an activity that develops the Big Ideas of number sense and counting, such as cardinality, one-to-one correspondence, and unitizing.
Looking at a video from our Focus on the Child series, Collaborative member Donna Johnson leads a discussion about the mathematical thinking of a child during a comparison task. This is an example of how…
Collaborative member Donna Johnson leads teachers in a discussion about an activity designed to build number sense in a video from our Focus on the Lesson series. This is an example of how we use…
En Español También. Here you can download cards and simple-to-learn game ideas to help young children build their understanding of early math concepts such as cardinality, composing and comparing numbers, and allowing them to subitize.
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.