Plain and simple, number sense is a person’s ability to understand, relate, and connect numbers. It is the sense of what numbers mean.
What value does a number represent? Which number is bigger or smaller? Children with the ability to answer these questions have a firm grasp on number sense. They can perform mental mathematics and look at the world and make comparisons.
Number sense is a group of skills that allows people to work with numbers in math and many other tasks. Students who have a strong understanding of number sense can represent quantities using diagrams and materials explaining how they get the quantity of numbers.They should also be able to decompose and compose number fluently. These children also understand the base 10 relationships in the number system and can compare whole numbers with decimal numbers, considering the value of the numbers. They will be able to visualize and talk about numbers comfortably and solve math problems in their head without the use of a pencil and paper.
Over the past few decades, teachers have solely concentrated on math facts and calculations, not about the number themselves. However, educators have now found that students may struggle with learning math because they don’t have the underlying foundation of what the numbers really mean. Their lack of understanding of number sense means they do not have the basic foundational skills and will struggle in the future. But, with this new information, teachers are changing the way mathematics is being taught, and focusing more time on mastering number sense and automaticity of facts.
Number sense is essential for elementary school children because it can promote confidence and encourages flexible thinking. It can allow a child to create a relationship with numbers, so they are able to talk about math concepts as a language.
Strong number sense can help build a foundation for mathematical understanding as one of the four pillars of math. Number sense, especially in the younger grades, can help build the foundation necessary to compute and solve more complex problems as they go into older grades.
In grades 4 to 9, children extend their understanding of whole numbers to rational numbers and are introduced to irrational numbers. Without a solid foundation of this education in early years, students may struggle as math problems become more complex.
Children who have trouble with number sense often show signs at an early age. Students that struggle with math typically don’t have a good sense of numbers. As one of the foundational concepts that holds them back from becoming fluid in math, children may struggle with basic operations such as addition and multiplication. They can also have trouble with everyday tasks and skills such as handling money, measuring, and judging time.
As children begin to learn math, it is vital for them to improve their skills and practice number sense, so it does not last into adulthood. Unfortunately, the pandemic caused many students to have a loss in learning over the past couple of years. Students in the younger grades have suffered a gap in mathematics as they learn number sense. As one of the four pillars of math, not understanding number sense will leave a child with a weak math pillar and can significantly impact their future math success.
At Dropkick Math, we understand children need to encounter math in everyday life to help develop their fundamentals in the four pillars of math. Our programs focus on number sense, operational sense, algebraic reasoning, and proportional reasoning. Our math help services provide personalized number sense programs while pinpointing their individual math needs. These programs are beneficial to children because they offer an interactive learning service that provides clear goals and measurement tools to keep track of your child’s progress.
Our fun and engaging learning environment creates a math playground that can help your child build on their math skills and gain the confidence they need to excel in mathematics. Learn more about our programs today!