Number sense activities for kindergarten and first grade. Answer the question: What is number sense and why is it important?
What is Number Sense?
Number sense is the fluidity and flexibility with numbers. It is a child’s ability to use and understand numbers, and also identify number relationships in order to solve mathematical problems. In kindergarten, children begin identifying small groups of numbers without counting them. This is called subitizing and is a beginning skill in number sense. According to research, number sense continues to develop over time through the exploration of numbers, visualizing numbers, and relating to numbers in different ways. Having number sense includes:
- Understanding number and quantity relationship.
- Knowledge of number symbols and vocabulary.
- Engaging in systematic counting, including notions of cardinality and ordinality.
- Recognizing number patterns and identifying missing numbers.
- Ability to solve simple math equations.
(Hornigold, Judy. “Number Sense.” Maths No Problem, 14 Sept. 2017)
Why is Number Sense Important?
Number sense “encourages students to think flexibly and promotes confidence with numbers”. Students who do not have number sense will struggle to enjoy math. It will be hard to establish a foundation that is needed for basic arithmetic. Having a strong number sense allows children to manipulate numbers and be flexible in their approach to solving mathematical equations. They can identify patterns in numbers in order to solve problems more efficiently. (Devlin, Keith. “Number Sense: the Most Important Mathematical Concept in 21st Century K-12 Education.” Huffington Post, Oath Inc., 1 Jan. 2017)
Number Sense Activities: Making 10
So how do you teach number sense? Here are some activities and ideas for developing number sense and making 10 in kindergarten and first grade.
Number Sense Activities: Ten for Me
A mentor text that we use in our math units is called Ten for Me by Barbara Mariconda. Two young explorers set a goal to catch butterflies and each day they find ten. The book shows students different ways of making 10.
Number Sense Activities: Whole-Group Lessons – Making 10
Lessons on making number combinations are found throughout our Guiding Kinders and Guiding Firsties Math Curriculum. Through spiraled instruction, students are able to build number sense and develop a complete understanding of number operations.
You can find our whole-group math curriculum by clicking below:
Number Sense Activities: Small-Group Instruction on Making 10
Running small groups for math is a definite way of meeting the needs of both your low babies and also your high fliers.
Click below for our small-group math lessons:
Read more about small-group math:
Number Sense Activities: Making 10 in Centers
While meeting with math small groups, other students can be working through independent math centers to strengthen their understanding of the skill.
Do you love using math games in your classroom? Check out this post all about building math fluency with games:
Number Sense Activities: Making 10 Videos
Who doesn’t love fun videos and songs to reinforce math skills? Of course, some of them are a little silly… but kid’s love them!
This Jack Hartmann video would be great to show and pause while students use number cubes to make 10.