What Is Number Sense? – Quranmualim

What is number sense? Many parents have asked me this question many times as a teacher. While I can answer the question, I discuss the importance of number sense and why children should have strong numbers sense.

However, many parents are uncomfortable with the topic. This is not a term that they are familiar with, or something they used when learning math. Number sense, in its simplest form, is the ability to comprehend, relate and connect numbers.

Children who have strong number sense can think fluently and flexible about numbers. They are able to:

  • Talk and visualize numbers. Number bonds help people see the connections between them.
  • You can take numbers apart and combine them in different ways – e.g. Breaking the number five down multiple times (e.g. 5+0=5 or 4+1=5 or 2+3=5 or 2+3=5 or 1+4=5 etc.) will help your child learn how to make five.
  • Use a computer to solve problems instead of writing them down.
  • Connect numbers to real-life problems. For example, ask your child how many apples he’s picked at a farm. “Andy picked five apples. Amanda picked 2. “How many apples did they pick all?”

Your young math students need to be able to recognize numbers. It promotes confidence and fosters flexibility. This allows children to have a conversation about math and to build a relationship with them. My students tell me that numbers are like letters. Every letter has a sound, and when they are combined, they create words. Every digit has a value, and they add up to make numbers.

These are some ways to encourage number sense in the first grader

  • Use Estimating to incorporate math into your child’s daily life. Calculate how long it takes to walk from the car to the house, or wait in line at the grocery shop.
  • Help your child understand numbers by modeling them in different situations. You can look at numbers on a deck of cards, or identify numbers on dominoes or dice without counting the dots.
  • Find ways to visualize numbers. I ask my students every day to imagine a number and then tell me their thoughts. You child will see numbers differently. Encourage your child to celebrate all of these different ways she sees numbers and encourage her creativity. A number 8 can be viewed as a snake, while a number 10 can be compared to a baseball bat and a bat.
  • Open your mind to math. Instead of asking “What is 6+4?”, ask “What are some other ways to make 10?” This will allow you to think more freely and increase your confidence in knowing multiple answers. You can also ask questions like “Can you make 8 with three numbers?” and “What’s 10 more than 22?”
  • Mentally solve problems. If you have 6+6=12, you will also know 6+7=13. To help him find a more difficult fact (6+6) and to build on concepts he already has, he can use his double fact (6+6).
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A strong number sense is essential for understanding math. Using number sense in the youngest grades builds the foundation needed to solve more difficult problems and compute in higher grades. Understanding numbers is key to building a love of math in your child.


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Cherrie Moseley Number-Sensed

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