Number sense is the ability to understand the quantity of a set and the name associated with that quantity. Number is an abstract concept, and young children tend to think in concrete terms. Thanks to recent research, we now know that infants are sensitive to quantity and can make good quantity comparisons (more than, less than). The transition from this innate, informal number knowledge to a conventional understanding of number sense is a major cognitive development that takes place gradually. It gets to the heart of a complex question: What is number sense? And why is number sense important?
© Erikson Institute’s Early Math Collaborative. Reprinted from Big Ideas of Early Mathematics: What Teachers of Young Children Need to Know (2014), Pearson Education.
● The quantity of a small collection can be intuitively perceived without counting.
● Quantity is an attribute of a set of objects and we use numbers to name specific quantities.
● Numbers are used in many ways, some more mathematical than others.
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