Friday, October 4, 2013

A Predictor of Later Math Success: Subitizing

We know it is important for children to count in a meaningful way. They need to be able to point to objects and say “One, two, three,” and so on. But, learning to quickly identify the number of objects is also important. Research shows that this skill, termed subitizing, is a predictor of later math success.  Yes, there are even different types of subitizing, but more about that in later posts. For now, let’s see how we can build a child’s subitizing skills.

Show them cards with dots on them. Have them say the number they see.

It is best to arrange the dots in different ways. So five could be arranged as these two examples show:

Rearrange in other ways, too. The point is that quantity recognition should be immediate. 

A fun way to help with subitizing is to cut-out fun shapes, use magnetic tape, and put them on a cookie sheet. For those with a need to touch items, put like objects on a board.  Ask children how many shapes are seen.

Using pictures with circles can help children with tactile needs. Have them use puff balls, colored stones, or small blocks to cover the dots. Discuss the quantity until the recognition becomes automatic.

Print this picture to use with your children:

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