Tuesday, February 15, 2011

~ Number Sense ~

In order for any one to master MATH they must first master NUMBER SENSE.

Number sense seems so basic, but really it is the core to which ALL mathematics is based. 

So what is number sense exactly? 

Number Sense

A person's ability to use and understand numbers:

· knowing their relative values,
· how to use them to make judgments,
· how to use them in flexible ways when adding, subtracting, multiplying or dividing
· how to develop useful strategies when counting, measuring or estimating.

(taken from: http://www.mathsisfun.com/definitions/number-sense.html)

In order to better help you teach your children this basic, but most important skill I have posted some ideas below. The most important element to this learning process is to HAVE FUN while doing it and make sure your child knows that they are learning MATH at the same time!

1. Celebrate the Date!

For example: Today's date is 2-15-2011. 

Use these numbers in ALL different ways! Starting with the number 2. Write the number, create the number, count the number on your body (find everything on your body that you have 2 of), look for the number, eat the number, etc. Use ALL the 5 senses and be creative! Be careful not to cover too much material at once. Start with baby steps. Remember MASTERY is KEY! Maybe just focus on the day of the week or the month. Be sure and review what you have taught each day before going on to teaching a new number. 

2. Use a TEN's FRAME!!!

This is one of my favorite tools when teaching math! My 2nd graders had one in their desk and we used it ALL the time. It looks simple and it is. The POWER of the TEN's frame is something that I will refer to often when talking about teaching the basics of math. The POWER of TEN is something that is critical for our mathematical minds to understand. More on this topic later.

1. It is easy to create a ten's frame. Using a piece of paper draw a rectangle and divide it into 10 squares, 5 on top and 5 on the bottom.

2. Next give your child something fun to use as counters: cheerios, pennies, marbles. Then explain to your child that there are 10 squares on this paper. Count them together. 

3. Place one cheerio in the first square and ask your child, "How many cheerios do you see on this paper?" (Depending on the ability level of your child you can proceed to ask more difficult questions about number sense.)

4. Next bring to the table the written number on cards and explain that you are going to play a game. You will show your child the number card and have them represent that number on their Ten's Frame using their cheerios.

Let your imagination run wild with this one. The ten's frame is the best! I will be showing 
several other ideas using this awesome too!

3. Number Sense Treasure Hunt

This is a great game to play with kids! 

1. Explain to your kids that it is time to go on a Number Treasure Hunt around the house, at the park, in the car, really wherever you are!

2. The rules of the game include:
- I will tell you a number and you must find something that represents that number.
-For example if I say the number 4 and we are in the car then I want you to see if you can find something that is represents that number.  Like a STOP sign that has 4 letters in it, or the number 4 setting on the radio dial in the car, or 4 crackers on the back seat of the car. 
- Encourage your children to think outside the box and make sure that they can explain their reason for choosing that object.

3. It is important for your children to learn that numbers are EVERYWHERE they just have to recognize them. 

Have fun teaching NUMBER SENSE!

Please post any other ideas that you might have to teach your kids number sense at home or on the road!  


Heidi said...

As a former math teacher, I obviously love this post. I definitely want to do some of these ideas with my four year old

shel said...

i did the 10 frame the other day with my four year old - actually i did up to 25; as she is needing help beyond 10. anyway... i put one 'cheerio' in the first box, but i'm assuming it doesn't matter what 'box' the subsequent numbers need to go in, correct? we just picked number squares at random and counted the 'cheerios' out. any comments :)
also, FYI... the honey-nut type flavor was a little sticky! lol

teacher2mom said...

Heidi, I am so glad that you love this post. I am so passionate about my feelings on the "American" way that we teach math. It is frustrating to me that we spend SO little time on mastery, and SO much time teaching several different areas of math beginning in Kindergarten. Have you heard of Singapore Math? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Shel, I am SO glad that you were able to use the 10 frame with your 4 year old. Sorry the cheerios was just the first thing that came to mind...maybe something different next time since they were so sticky:) Picking number squares at random is okay, but the method behind the 10 frame is so that your child can visualize the number in that form. So at a glance they can see 1 set of 5 on the top row and 1 below and know that that equals 6! Pretty soon they can add without even knowing that they are actually adding. It's AMAZING! I will post more on this soon!

Thanks ladies for the GREAT comments and questions!