Why Number Sense Is Important For Math Mastery

Mathematics is an essential part of our lives, and it plays a crucial role in almost everything we do, from calculating the number of calories in our meals to managing complex financial transactions. It has proven to be an essential skill in the workforce, with many jobs requiring a solid foundation in mathematics. Thus, the importance of math mastery cannot be overstated for children as they go through school. However, math mastery goes beyond merely memorizing formulas, equations, and algorithms to solving problems.

A Crucial Aspect Of Math

One crucial aspect of math mastery is number sense. Number sense refers to an intuitive understanding of numbers, their relationships, and how they behave. It involves the ability to estimate, compare, and reason about numbers in a flexible, accurate, and efficient way. Essentially, it is the foundation that allows us to develop a deep understanding of mathematical concepts.

At its core, number sense is about understanding what numbers mean and how they can be manipulated. For example, consider the number 7. Intuitively, we know that it is one more than 6 and one less than 8. We can also identify 7 as a part of different number sets, such as the odd numbers, prime numbers, or numbers that fall between 5 and 10. This is the kind of understanding that number sense cultivates.

Requiring A Strong Understanding

As students progress through their mathematical studies, they will encounter increasingly complex concepts and problems that require a strong foundation in number sense. Consider, for instance, the process of long division. Though it can be memorized as an algorithm, students who have developed strong number sense can see the relationships between the numbers in a division problem and the process of dividing them. This allows them to perform the calculations more efficiently and with less chance of making mistakes.

When a child truly understands number sense, they will no longer simply memorize math concepts, but they will have a deeper understanding of how they work and how to apply them in real-life situations.  

Developing Number Sense

Developing number sense has several practical benefits beyond mathematical applications. For instance, research has shown that children who develop better number sense early on are more likely to succeed academically, with better outcomes seen in subjects like reading and science. Additionally, people with strong number sense exhibit higher financial literacy and better decision-making skills, with the ability to assess risks and make informed purchases.

So, why is number sense essential for math mastery? There are several reasons, including:

  • Facilitates Understanding of Mathematical Concepts

Number sense is the foundation for developing an understanding of mathematical concepts. Concepts such as place value, fractions, and decimals cannot be understood fully without a solid grasp of number sense. Without this foundation, students may end up memorizing procedures without understanding why they work, making it challenging to retain the concepts in the long term.

  • Encourages Flexibility in Problem-Solving

Number sense allows for more flexibility in approaching a problem. For instance, consider the problem 99 x 6. A student with a strong number sense might recognize that 99 x 6 is the same as 100 x 6 – 6. This mental shortcut is quicker than performing the calculations using long multiplication and demonstrates a flexible approach to problem-solving.

  • Reduces Errors in Calculation

Having a good understanding of number sense allows students to check their work with more accuracy, reducing errors in calculation. For example, students will be able to estimate the answer to the problem before performing the calculations, making it easier to catch mistakes before they become a problem.

  • Improves Confidence in Math Abilities

A student with a strong foundation in number sense will be more confident in their math abilities. Mathematics can be intimidating, and many students struggle with self-doubt and anxiety when approaching challenging problems. A strong number sense foundation can give students the confidence they need to tackle new concepts and succeed in the field.

This last step is a big one for us here at Dropkick Math Academy. Many parents come to our Academy because they are at a loss when it comes to helping their child in mathematics. Helping a child who is struggling with math can often be a daunting task, and one that many parents shy away from. 

This is where we step in. We understand that math can be difficult to learn, especially if a child has lost confidence or struggles with conventional learning practices. Parents want the best for their children, but their math anxiety can prevent them from being able to help their children when they need it most. 

At Dropkick Math Academy, we involve the parent and child and encourage learning together. Research shows that parents who take an active role in their child’s education are much more likely to see a change in attuite and determination in their child’s subject where they were previously struggling. 

We make learning fun and engaging and fill in any learning gaps that the child and parent may have. By focusing on the four pillars of math (number sense, operational sense, algebraic reasoning, and proportional reasoning), we can help to ensure to get to the root of the cause of the misunderstanding. By ensuring comprehension of the fundamentals of mathematics, your child will begin to master math right before your eyes. 

Does Your Child Have Number Sense?

As children get older and start learning more complex mathematical concepts and principles, they will be likely to say they “don’t get it,” or that it “doesn’t make sense.” If this sounds familiar, then your child may be missing number sense. 

If this problem continues, a child can increasingly feel lost as they move up through the school grades. Year after year, the gap in learning will grow between what they are being taught and what they truly understand. When older children lack number sense, they need to work harder and longer than they should have to solve math problems. This is a significant reason why so many children may need math tutoring.  

A Tremendous Benefit

Number sense is a vital component of math mastery, and at Dropkick Math, we ensure your child has a fundamental understanding of it. Fully understanding numbers sense goes beyond mere memorization of formulas and procedures and instead focuses on the development of a deep intuitive understanding of numbers and their behaviours. 

Students who develop strong number sense will benefit tremendously in their math studies, leading to improved academic outcomes and better decision-making abilities in life. Building strong number sense foundations is ultimately critical to success in mathematics and beyond.

Unfortunately, the pandemic caused many students to have a loss in learning over the past couple of years, so it is imperative that children get the help they need before it becomes a bigger problem. 

Click to learn more about our math tutoring programs and how we can help get your child back on track while boosting their confidence in math!

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