Subitizing

In Kindergarten, students are asked to recognize some quantities without having to count, using a variety of tools.  Numbers to 6 seem a reasonable goal for several reasons.  A pattern for 6 can be seen by students on standard dice, which also fit in which much of the research on the beneficial effects of board games in early numeracy.

With the number 6, we can also start to place anchors of other numbers within the patterns.

Part part whole understanding is usually used to subitize numbers over four or five. This means a student looking at the pattern to the right doesn’t usually see 6 as an entirety to start, but instead 2 and 4, or maybe 3 and 3.

This also has some implications for the dot plate patterns we use in class.  For larger numbers, it seems logical to use some two colour plates that suggest certain part part whole relationships.  For the variety of tools mentioned, we can use dot plates, dominoes, dice, finger patterns, and 5 & 10 frames.

Domino CardsThese domino cards are useful for subitizing in that the two sides break the pattern into smaller pieces, providing a smaller anchor.  For Kindergarten, mostly dominos with totals of 6 and under are used.  Those over six with one side a five are also included as they’re a good parallel to 10 frames, and can be used later in the year.  They can also be used for students to build the amount on ten frames with counters.

 

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