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  • Writer's pictureChris Pope

Number Sense Strategies

Hi, my name is Chris Pope from C&C Learning Supports. I want to take a minute and talk about number sense. Now, this is something that more and more students at the younger ages are really having a difficult time with. To them, they see numbers just like these that you see on the screen, all jumbled together, not really knowing really and truly how to make sense of what they're being exposed to. So I want to take a few moments to just give you a couple practical solutions that you as a parent can work on at home with your child to make learning number sense fun so that you can get to the concepts of addition and subtraction eventually.

As you can see with the picture on the screen, there are so many things you probably have around your home that you didn't even consider that you could possibly use to help teach your child number sense. I've found that anything that is edible is often times pretty fun for students to be able to use. But if it's using even just having a digit on a piece of paper and allowing your child to take paint dots or anything like that in order to kind of trace that digit, kind of get more and more exposure to it and saying over and over again, "Two, two, two," or holding up two pencils and the number two, two cookies and the number two, and just continuing to associate everything that you're doing with that number to kind of build that.

And so even if it's having little postcard sized pieces of paper, index cards, something like that with numbers on it, so that when you are counting with your child, "Okay, count with me. One, two, three, four, great, now point to the number four." And then you can even have a treat and incentive to be able to entice them to pay attention and help retain that into their memory and give them that reward every time they select the right digit. So as you can see again on the screen, there are so many different things that you can come... I have the link to this teacher's blog that has these individual activities that connects to her Teacher Pay Teacher account, some really cool ideas in which to help build that knowledge with your child.

One of the things that she has on many of her activities is to be able to have the use of counters. Now, you can go on Amazon, you can buy counters or again, a lot of it, you can use things that are directly... that you have in your home. Cheerios, you can have Skittles, M&MS, dice, blank dice. You can use legos. There's so many different things that you can do that you probably have laying around your home. Another thing that we want to look at on the next slide is to the point where you are helping your child with addition. Now again, what we want to continue to do, especially if you have an older child that is struggling with number sense, we want to continue to build into those skills. So we want to have a certain number of objects that you're using as counters, where you can use the little puff balls, beads, you can use beans, cotton balls, depending upon if there's a particular thing that your child will connect more with and be willing to use.

You can actually create what's called an addition machine. I use one of these in my classroom when I worked with some of the younger students, and I didn't have one that looked exactly like this, but I did go online and look for some pictures, just so you can be creative with it and seeing some different ways that you can actually interact with your child this way. So some of the things, now I'm just going to put up a couple that we will have up on the screen that you can actually make with your child at home. Some of these things that you may even have at home. One that you see here with the green cups is very similar to one that I had in my classroom and typically what I would do is I would just have the addition machine up and then I would an index card or flashcard of an addition problem for the student to work through.

And as I would put that in, then they would take, "Okay, three plus two, I'm going to put three cotton balls in one cup and I'm going to put two in the other, how many wind up in the bin? And that is the answer to the problem. So they're associating three cotton balls with the digit three, two cotton balls with the digit two. And then they can associate, then they have to find the number, then I had it written on a card that corresponded with the amount of cotton balls that were in the pocket.

So, these are just some different ideas on the screen of how you can be creative and make an addition machine for your child. We will have the links to these up on our comments section or the notes section of our blog. I hope this has been interesting for you, something that you're willing to try with your child at home. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to us. Our website is You can contact me directly or the rest of our team members, and we look forward to hearing from you and helping you out in any way that we can. Have a wonderful day.


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