Teaching Number Sense to Your Children is Easy with Number Counting
As a parent, helping your child perform better in their grade-level math is as easy as teaching number sense by practicing some basic exercises. Children who struggle with their grade-level math are deficient in operational skills. As a result, most of the problems that kids (and adults) have with math stem from a lack of basic number sense that comes with knowing how numbers naturally progress.
Traditionally, multiplication tables are taught in school. A better learning method is for students to count by numbers which is a more enjoyable activity then attempting to passively scan a table in a book.
The best and easiest exercise for teaching number sense is simply counting by numbers out loud. Knowing how numbers progress in this manner is essential to understanding the principles of division and multiplication. Counting by numbers can be done anywhere at any time and is actually most fun when done spontaneously.
While counting by the various numbers, you can ask your child questions about the activity. One example could be “Why is the number 5 so easy to count by?” (Hint: what number do you always end in when counting by 5’s?). Another question might be “What is unique about the sequence of numbers when counting by 9’s?” (Hint: look at how the numbers in the one’s and ten’s place are sequencing).
Use the numbers 2-12 for counting purposes. We do not need to go beyond the number 12 since these numbers tend to factor into all other numbers. Explain to your child that when we see that numbers repeat themselves, the numbers we are counting by are factors of those numbers. For example, when I count by 3’s or 5’s, I arrive at the number 15. Therefore, 3 and 5 are both factors of 15.
One variation of teaching number sense by number counting would be to use dice. Let your child roll the dice to see which number between 2 and 12 they are going to count by. Next, you roll to see how many times your child has to count by that number. Use your imagination to come up with your own counting games. As your child (and maybe even you) becomes more and more proficient at counting, raise the stakes by seeing how fast your child can count through all the numbers.
As your child is mastering this skill, they will see the connection between the number sense that is forming from this activity and the math operations it relates to. A multiplication problem is simply a fast way to add and the ability to count by numbers allows the child to use this skill to solve these problems quickly. With division problems, the child uses the factoring skills derived from number counting to see “how many of this number fits into that number”.
For children to attain proficiency at grade-level math, they must be able to perform basic math functions. Guiding your child towards learning basic number sense by number counting is the best place to start.
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