Number sense is the fluidity in dealing with numbers. It enables a person to identify, arrange (in a specific order), and perform operations like addition, subtraction, multiplication, etc. on numbers. The base of all mathematical operations is number sense if we put it in a succinct manner. Actually, the number sense is not limited to attaining knowledge of mathematical operations only. In fact, it plays an important role in understanding the concepts of place value, magnitude, approximation, and equivalence, and so on.
Developing number sense right at the beginning or K1 to K3 level
Just like reading and writing of words is required for building language literacy, the number sense builds the foundation for developing math literacy or numeric literacy. It, therefore, is an important concept that teachers need teaching to beginners at kindergarten or preschool level.
Developing number sense at the beginner kindergarten level involves a lot of befriending and acquainting process. Kids may have math scare resulting from the learning difficulties or poor retention of concepts. Thus, the focus at the beginner stage is on helping the young children internalize the number sense concepts. It can be done with the help of:
- Group activities and games – for example, make a group of ten to reach to the number 100, or skip a child from a formed circle to teach number dodging, and so on.
- Manipulatives – Use manipulatives like cubes, domino cards, etc. to let kids move and arrange these and build mathematical concepts in the process.
- Number talks and quizzes – Use number talk sessions where the kids are asked to build strategies to solve a question and share it with the class. The quizzes are designed to let kids think in a time-pressed environment.
- Worksheets – Worksheets are designed topic-wise. These can vary in levels of difficulty. Their use in building the numeric ability and for assessing the progress makes them quite instrumental in strengthening the number or math sense in a beginner at the kindergarten level.
How practicing worksheets can help ?
Building of any concept is incomplete without practice. Worksheets provide practice that ultimately builds fluency in math problem-solving activity. The varying levels of difficulty in worksheets help assess the progress and to build a sense of challenge. Worksheets based on various topics build flexible thinking and allow early learners to grasp the concepts of different kinds.
The nature of the worksheet may differ according to the level of study for which these are used. These can comprise of problems related to counting, sorting, orienting, and math operations, depending on the depth required for building number sense.
The role of worksheets in building number sense can be summed up as follows:
- Help building connection between the concepts
- Offer a pretext for applying the concepts learned
- Promote systematic learning with the help of gradual progression
- Teach about various approaches to use for building number sense
- Enhance problem-solving ability
In the view of its importance in developing number sense in little learners, NumberDyslexia made some worksheets for kindergarteners and early learners to test their number sense. These are absolutely free and available in printable pdf form as provided below.
How to practice these worksheets for improving number sense ?
Worksheets, as mentioned earlier, offer a systematic way of learning number sense or of building number literacy by adding an element of progression in the learning process. Thus, the following approaches can help in making the best use of worksheets for improving number sense:
- Start with simple problems first. It helps build confidence and propels to challenge the self to go to higher levels of difficulty.
- Try to include a variety of worksheets to keep the monotony away.
- Encourage a participative or collaborative approach in the problem-solving process so that children can learn about and apply all possible strategies.
- Provide constructive evaluation and feedback to encourage children to learn more and practice often; never hold back yourself in giving credit wherever due or whenever the child does good work.
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