Building Number Sense at Home
Encouraging a love of numbers throughout childhood helps children to develop a strong understanding of numbers, which is often called having good number sense. Children with strong number sense have the ability to use numbers confidently, with flexibility and with place value understanding. This means a child with strong number sense understands relationships between numbers. For example, when thinking about the number four, a child might describe it as three less than seven, one less than five, three more than one and one more than three. This child will also be able to estimate quickly by seeing numbers or groups of objects as sets instead of needing to count by ones. In addition, a child will be flexible with numbers which often allows them to build their own meaningful ways for solving number equations or when problem solving. These abilities will help build children’s mathematical confidence, as they understand how numbers work and thus become quick and reflective mathematical thinkers.
There are many fun, engaging ways to incorporate daily number sense activities at home. Below is one way to get started building number sense activities into your daily lives with your children. Once we open the door, children soon realize that numbers really are everywhere and armed with this knowledge most children will want to interact with numbers on a regular basis.
Guess My Number (use a hundreds chart or a number line) – Dinnertime is the perfect time to play a simple number game such as Guess My Number. To play, ask one player to choose a number within a set and comfortable (based on age) range such as 1-100. This number remains secret until someone guesses it. To start have one participant at a time take turns narrowing the range until one is able to guess the number. Questions might include: Is it greater than fifty? Is it an even number? Is it less than eighty? Is it more than twenty? The range of numbers should narrow each time until someone guesses the actual number.
Barbara J. Hale, M.Ed., NBCT
Kingsbury Elementary School
825 Kingsbury Road
Sumter, SC 29154