Primary Math Concepts

Math in the primary grades begins with developing concepts of Math that promote conceptual understanding, not rote learning. It is important to provide lessons and opportunities for students to develop their number sense early on.

Just what is NUMBER SENSE?  

Number sense is the ability to understand numbers, ways to represent numbers, relationships among numbers, and number systems.  (Shumway, 2011)

Beginning Number Sense

Subitizing – (Clements, 1999) identifies subitizing as foundational to children’s number sense.  Using dot cards, students view the card and identify how many dots.  We recommend having sets of cards for students to use in a Math centre. Students can also view the card and represent how many with their fingers or objects. Finally, students can put the dot cards in order as they count them. (Dot cards and 10 frames are available in our print shop.)

Counting- Count Everything! The more students practice counting all kinds of objects, the better they get at counting and at understanding relationships among numbers. Here is a link with counting ideas.

Partitioning – Partitioning refers to the “sharing out” of a number.  For example:  6 cookies and 2 friends. Each friend would receive 3 cookies.  Sometimes referred to as “part part whole”, this concept begins in primary and increases in complexity to enable students to tackle more difficult numbers using mental math. 25 + 34 = 20+30 + 5+4

These concepts are foundational in the primary years. If students are having difficulty with number sense, they may not have mastered these concepts.


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