Differentiated Math Fact Practice

Making Ten

4th Grade Resources

Teaching Kids to Count Money Step by Step

I'm sure you've heard it said before, "When will I ever use this," about many math concepts.  And it might be true that some higher level math skills won't be used if you aren't in a career with a math focus.  But there are many math skills that we use in our daily lives and counting money is one of them.  Teaching kids to count money is one of those skills that our students will use for the rest of their lives.  So we owe it to them to guide them to mastery on this skill.  

step by step approach to teaching kids how to count money

Before You Teach Kids to Count Money

skip counting is an important precursor to teaching kids to count coinsBefore jumping in to counting money, it is really important that kids know how to skip count by 5's, 10's and 25's.  The more fluently they can skip count the more fluently they will be able to count money.  Obviously, counting by 1's is also an important foundational skill that will help kids learn to count money.  

Your students don't need to have mastered skip counting, but having an understanding of the concept will be very important.  If they cannot skip count by memory then it will also be important to have a skip counting tool in place that they can use as they count money.

Step 1: The Value of Coins

The first step in teaching kids to count money is to make sure that they can identify each of the coins and its value.  Students should be able to identify a coin by both the front and back side, give its name and how much it is worth.  

Step 2: Sorting the Coins

One of the easiest ways to teach kids to count money is to start by sorting the coins into groups.  Once you have all of the same coin together, the next step will be much easier.  Later, as students find counting coins easier, you can skip this step and keep the coins mixed up.  But for starting out, this sorting step will make the rest of the process easier for the students.

sorting coins is the first step in counting money

Step 3: Start with the Biggest Value and Count On

Have students find the coins with the biggest value.  Then show students that since all of the coins in that group have the same value they can use skip counting to count them.  If you are using actual coins, have students count as they touch the coin and drag it into a new pile.

If you are using pictures of coins on a worksheet or practice page, have students write in the value of each coin on the picture.  Then have them skip count starting with the biggest value.  

Once they skip counted all the coins with the largest value, then move to the coins with the next largest value.  Start counting where you left off and just adjust what you are skip counting by.  Here's an example:

how to skip count as you count money example

In this picture you can see 3 quarters, 3 dimes and 5 pennies.  This is what the counting process should sound like for this group of coins - quarter first, then dimes, pennies last.  This is what it should sound like:
25 - 50 - 75 - 85 - 95 - 105 - 106 - 107 - 108 - 109- 110

This process is called Counting On and it is one of the easiest ways to teach kids how to count coins.  In fact, although as an adult you probably don't think about each of these steps, it is very likely that this is how you count money without even realizing it.

Teaching kids to count money doesn't have to be hard if you follow these steps.  Start with one coin and work through the steps.  When students can count multiples of each individual coin then move to two different coins in the group and work through the steps.  Once students can count two different coins then add a third coin and work through the steps.  Just slowly build upon the last lesson as students show that they are ready!  

When people tell me they are having problems with their class learning to count money I immediately wonder what step they are missing.  After a few minutes of talking I can usually pin point the problem, and it always comes back to the steps.  Sometimes they don't have a skip counting foundation and other times they jump from Step 1 to multiple coins Step 3 and just skip over the step by step approach.  

Practice, Practice, Practice

Once students have learned the steps for counting coins, they need to practice, practice and practice so more!  

Hands-On Practice

One of my favorite ways to practice counting coins is to play a game called Grab Bag!  Here I take a small bag of coins and have each randomly grab a few from the bag.  Then we practice going through the steps and counting the coins.

The great thing about the Grab Bag is that you can fill the bag with the coins you are working on, or the coins your kids are struggling with.  So, if you are working on counting by pennies and nickels, then you would only put pennies and nickels in the bag.  This makes it really easy to differentiate for your students.  This is a really fun game to play during small group instruction.  Once students can count coins independently, you can use the Grab Bag game as a math center.

Written Practice

Money Counting Practice Pages are another great way to practice counting coins.  My favorite counting coins practice pages are in this Time & Money set!  

time and money practice set by Mrs. Balius

What I love about this set is that it includes instructional posters and practice pages in an order that supports kids from the beginning to more advanced coin counting.  The instructional posters can be used as you teach your lessons and then hung in the room to provide a learning tool that your students can refer back to.  

sample instructional posters for teaching kids to count money

These posters will take you from Step 1 all the way through the coin counting process.  You even get posters for the most advanced activities which requires students to apply what they know to a real world situation in the "Do I Have Enough" activities.

Next comes the variety of practice pages that will give your students the repeated practice necessary to learn and master this skill.  First, students work on counting money that is all one coin.  Then they work on counting money that is displayed in a line, already in order by value. Next they will have to order the money on their own when the coins are left in a random group.  Finally, they will apply what they have learned to decide if they have enough money to buy something.

sample practice pages for teaching kids to count money

You can also find these activities in digital format too!  Students can complete these activities using Google Slides which makes them perfect for classroom technology integration, distance learning, or a 1:1 classroom setting.  

digital activities for counting money

Students will type into text boxes and move objects to provide their answers on the digital activities.  Look at the digital activities in action.

Get Counting!

Grab these fun and interactive counting money activities (and get some fun activities for learning to tell time too)!

If you aren't quite ready, then pin this to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so that you can come back quickly when you it's time to teach your students all about counting coins.

Teaching the Skill of Comparing Numbers

In the primary grades math skills like rounding, estimating and comparing numbers can often get overlooked in lieu of learning to recognize, read and write numbers.  And while these are extremely important foundational skills, it is also important that we teach our students to work with numbers way in other ways too.  Comparing numbers is one of those ways!

Why is Comparing Numbers Important?

Comparing numbers is an important part of building a student's number sense.  Number sense is the ability for a student to recognize a number, it's value and it's relationship with other numbers.  It is this important last component that is built by comparing numbers.

Before working on comparing numbers, it is important that students have an understanding of the numbers and their value they will be working with.  This understanding can be basic, and can include the need to use manipulatives and other hands-on tools.  

Think of it like this - if you asked a student which is more, 3 or 4, the student needs to be able to know that your word "three" means the symbol 3 which also means * * * (or the ability to use counting skills to make that determination).  The same with the number 4.   But once a student has this basic understanding, they are able to start learning about comparing numbers.

Now please understand that this basic understanding of numbers is referring to the numbers you would use for comparing numbers.  An understanding of numbers to 10 does not mean that a student is ready to compare numbers in the hundreds or thousands.

What is Comparing Numbers?

Comparing numbers is the ability to determine more and fewer, greater than, less than and equal to, and putting a group of numbers in order.  Comparing numbers is a relational number skill where students work with numbers in relation to each other.

When you think about numbers in the real world, they are often relational, and that makes comparing numbers important.  You are having a party with 10 people and purchasing a dozen cupcakes.  Do you have enough cupcakes?  Comparing numbers.  You are going on vacation for 2 weeks and taking 5 shirts.  Do you have enough shirts?  Comparing numbers.  We might not walk around using the words "greater than" and "less than" in our day to day speech, but we are comparing numbers all the time in our daily lives.

Activities for Teaching and Practicing Comparing Numbers

Here are some of my favorite activities for teaching and practicing comparing numbers.

1.  Counting and Comparing Manipulatives

For young students, the absolute best way to start comparing numbers is using a hands-on approach.  Grab some number cards, an extra set of calendar numbers, playing cards (numbers only), or even write numbers on a 3x5 card.  Then grab some manipulatives like counting blocks, mini erasers, buttons or pom poms.  Have the students count out the manipulatives to make a set for each number.  It works really well to have them line up the items so they can clearly see which one has more.  

After lining up sets for each number, ask students these questions:
  • Which has more?
  • How do you know?
  • Can you make a sentence with these numbers using the word more?
  • Which has less?
  • How do you know?
  • Can you make a sentence with these numbers using the word less?

2. The Hungry Alligator

For younger students, the hungry alligator is a great way to introduce the symbols for greater than and less than.  These symbols are easily turned into an alligator face.  Introduce your students to the hungry alligator who wants to eat as much as he can.  When the alligator has a choice between two numbers, he always chooses the greater number. 

We all know that learning is more fun with a song, and this concept is no different.  This song and video is catchy and easy to sing, but also does a great job with the concepts and vocabulary.

After introducing the alligator, make sure to have number talks using the proper vocabulary.  Morning meeting is a great time to do this.  Put two numbers on the board and ask the students to be an alligator and "chomp" the greater number.  An alligator puppet is also a great way to get students actively involved lessons on comparing numbers.  They will love it and the story approach will really help the abstractness take root.

2. Create a Number Battle Center

Similar to the card game called "War" you can use playing cards or number cards to have a number battle. Students can play in groups of 2, 3, or 4.  Divide the cards equally amongst all the players with the numbers facing down.  At the same time, each student will turn over one card.  The player with the greatest number gets to keep all the cards from that round.

What is great about this game is that there is no limit to what numbers you can use.  You can use numbers cards for any numbers.  You can even let your students create the number the cards on 3 x 5 cards.  Give each student 5 cards and have them write a number that is equal to or less than 500 (or whatever you choose to be the highest number).  Then collect all the cards and use them to be your card deck for number battles.

3. Comparing Numbers in the Real World

Another great way to help students learn and practice the concept of comparing numbers is to help them connect it to real life.  There's no better time to compare numbers then when you are shopping.  

Use ads from the newspaper or pull up local stores and have students compare prices on similar items to determine which is the better buy.  The great thing is that you can find a wide range of prices in the ads from numbers 0-20 to numbers in the thousands (think electronics and cars).  You could even compare numbers in the hundreds of thousands and millions by comparing house prices and real estate.  

4.  Consistent Practice with Number of the Day

Number of the Day is a great daily math practice that gives students practice on a variety of key number sense skills including comparing numbers.  Students will have opportunities to practice comparing numbers using groups, symbols, numbers lines and more. Additionally, students will practice other number sense skills that will help them with math skills now and in the future.

When students have the opportunity to review skills consistently and repeatedly it helps them to master the skills.  The great thing about number of the day is that it can be used in just a few minutes each day.  It makes a perfect morning work or math warm-up activity.  

You can find Number of the Day sets for kindergarten, first grade, second grade or third grade.  The first, second and third grade sets include both a printable and digital version.  

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Pin this to your favorite classroom Pinterest board and save these ideas for teaching comparing numbers so you can use them in your classroom.  

5 Ways to Represent Numbers that Our Students Must Know

An important part of having a good number sense foundation is knowing that numbers can be represented in a variety of ways.  But it is also important for students to know that each of those different representations means the same thing.  As students learn to see numbers in different ways, it helps them to expand their understanding of the number and what it means.  It's easy for students to see what a number represents when dealing with small numbers like 5, 13 or even 37.  But it's a lot harder for a student to count out a set of 1,359...and impossible when it comes to numbers like 3.42x1018.   So, instead of relying on the ability to count and see what the number represents, we must give our students other tools to use.  Here are five ways to represent numbers that our students must know.

number representation and number sense

1.  Standard Form

This one might be obvious, but our students need to know how to write and read numbers in standard form.  Standard form is writing numbers using digits, and in math we most often write numbers in standard form.  Here are some examples of standard form: 138 and 3,297.  As we teach our students how to write numbers in standard form, we should also teach them how to read numbers.

Teaching Tip: Did you know that it is incorrect to say "and" when you come to a comma?  Many people would read this number (3,297) as three thousand and two hundred ninety-seven.  But this is not correct, and if we teach this to our students, we are actually setting them up for misunderstandings in the future.  You see, the word "and" should only be used when reading a number with a decimal.  It should sound like this (3,297.5) three thousand, two hundred ninety-seven and five tenths.  

Standard form might be basic, but it's important as this is how most numbers our students interact with will be written.  They should be able to properly write and read numbers in standard form.  A fun way to practice this is with number cards.  Give each student a set of number cards and include a comma if needed.  Then say a number and have the students build it with the card.  After everyone is done, have them say the number back to you.  

building numbers with number tiles to show standard form

2.  Word Form

The second most common way that students will see numbers in their life is word form.  It is important for students to know that 'thirty-five' and 35 mean the same thing.  It is also important for students to know how to correctly write numbers.  Don't forget the important hyphen starting at number 21!

Play Number Show and Tell.  Give each student a white board and dry erase marker.  Say a number or write the standard form of the number on the board.  Students will write the number in word form. When you say "SHOW" students will hold up their white boards so you can see them.  When you say "TELL" students will say the number.  This is a great way to practice both word form and standard form.

student shows number in standard form and word form

3.  Place Value Chart

Another important way to represent numbers is inside a place value chart.  It is important for students to develop the understanding that the digit '4' does not always mean the same thing.  In fact, where that digit is placed inside the number is very important.  A place value chart is a very helpful tool for seeing and understanding this.

For primary age students, or any students that are adding a new column to the place value chart, it is very helpful to practice saying what each digit in a number represents.  Here's an example:

place value chart for representing numbers

Students should learn to identify this number by its standard form "two hundred sixty-eight," but also by place value: "2 hundreds, 6 tens, and 8 ones."  By learning to do both, we are helping students to make connections between the different number forms.

4. Expanded Form

After students are comfortable with the place value chart and what it means, teaching students about numbers in expanded form is the logical next step.  I love introducing expanded form to my students because we get up and get a little active.  I have students stand up and say this with me: "Expanded form is when I stretch out a number using addition."  Then we add some motions.  For the words "expanded form,” students clap their hands and hold them together in front of them.  Then, as we say "is when we stretch out a number" student stretch their arms straight out sideways.  Finally, we bring our arms in front of us and cross them like a plus sign as we say "using addition."  After repeating this a couple of times I stop doing it and simply ask, "What is expanded form?"  The kids love showing me that they know the definition and their movements.  Then for the next few days, and periodically throughout the year I was ask "What is expanded form?" and they know just what to do!

kinesthetic math activity

After we learn what expanded form is, then we learn how to write it with numbers.  I take the place value chart and add some plus signs to the bottom of it.  Then I add a number and we start our normal routine of saying the number that is written in the chart—first in standard form, then according to its place value.

using place value to teach expanded form

This time, as we say the number with its place value I stop the class after each digit.  I might get a little melodramatic and say something like, "What did you say?" or "Did you say that this number has 4 hundreds?"  When they answer again, I model how we would write that at the bottom of the chart in a form.  

This is a very concrete way for students to connect place value to expanded form.  As students get older and have experience with skip counting, I also like to connect expanded form with some skip counting practice.  I might say something like "This number has 4 hundreds.  Let's count by 100 four times." 

We would write it into our expanded form and then do the same with the next digit.

5. Pictorial or Object Representation

The final way that I teach my students to represent numbers is with a picture or objects.  In kindergarten and first grade we do a lot of using real objects and counting them into sets.  But as students get older, this becomes more difficult.  One way to help with this is the use of place value blocks.  These blocks are a great way to connect their knowledge of place value to a physical representation of the number.  

counting blocks or objects to show number meaning

The problem is that you often don't get enough blocks in a set to represent numbers higher than 2 or 3 thousand.  Pictures to the rescue!  I love to teach my students to draw a picture to represent the number.  Not only does this take a lot less space and having blocks and manipulatives on hand is not necessary, but it is a great problem-solving technique too.

I teach my students how to use a small square as a 1, a long rectangle as a 10 rod, a large square as 100, and a cube as 1,000.  They love learning to draw a cube!  They will not only use these pictures to represent numbers but there is a very high rate of carry-over when solving word problems too.  

drawing pictures is a good way to represent numbers

There are more ways to represent numbers than just drawing place value blocks.  Students can see a pictorial representation of numbers through tally marks, ten frames, or even drawing a set of objects.  When students can make a pictorial representation of the number then you know they are well on their way to mastering what the number stands for.

Practice Everyday

While introducing and teaching each of these number representations takes a lesson or two, students need more than this to practice and master these number representations.  That's why I love Number of the Day as a daily math number sense activity.  In just a few minutes a day, students get lots of practice—not only with number representations, but also with a variety of key number sense skills.

Use number of the day to practice representing numbers in different ways

You can see that on one Number of the Day activity page, students are working number representations in multiple ways.  Through the course of a week, they will work on all these important number representations.  

Want to learn more about Number of the Day and how you can use it with your students?  Check out this blog post for the ins and outs of this amazing daily math activity.

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Pin this to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so that you can quickly come back and find these number representations tips and ideas to use in your classroom.

Teaching your students how to represent numbers in different ways is important to developing a good number sense foundation.  This post goes over 5 different ways to represent numbers that your students must know.

Number of the Day: A Great Way to Build Number Sense

One of my absolute favorite times of the day is when I do number talks with my students.  In my classroom, we call this Number of the Day, and it is a daily math routine that my students love too.  Number of the Day is an excellent way to build strong number sense skills and gives my students opportunities to work with numbers in a variety of ways.

Number of the Day is a great way to help students build solid number sense skills.

Number of the Day in my Classroom

  • Every. Single. Day.  We do Number of the Day. It is part of our routine and the students come to expect it and even anticipate it.  If we have a schedule change for an assembly or other out of the ordinary activity they are quick to ask about Number of the Day.  

Number of the Day is our time as a class to dive deep into what a number is, how it can be represented, what we can do with it and more.  But it is so much more than just learning about one number.  We are learning and practicing key thinking skills that can be applied to all numbers and to math. 

students working on breaking down the number 45 as part of number of the day
What started out as a whole class oral activity with a whiteboard and a few manipulatives has turned into year-long printable and digital resources that I have to put together for kindergarten, first grade, second grade, and third grade.  Yep - I love Number of the Day and its effectiveness so much that I wanted an easy way to share it with you.

Now, we still do Number of the Day together talking through each activity, but my students can either follow along with their own Number of the Day page or they later reinforce their learning with a Number of the Day center activity.  

two boys working on a number of the day worksheet during math centers

Every Number of the Day page covers the same number sense skills and concepts, but the activities vary and the rigor obviously looks different based on the grade level and complexity of the number. 

I could write more, but I've decided it would be better to just show you.

Number of the Day in Action

Each day students will work with numbers in a variety of ways.  There will be number identification and oral practice saying the number the correct way.  There will be opportunities to represent the number in many different ways.  These include standard form, word form, expanded form, place value, ten frames, tally marks and by marking or creating groups.  There are also opportunities to work with numbers in basic operations when that is grade-level appropriate.  

a variety of number of the day worksheets to show variety of activities

When all of these activities are repeated with different numbers, we help our students learn to think about numbers in many different ways.  This helps them as they learn to problem-solve and complete more complex math.

Let's take a look at what Number of the Day activities look like.   I have pulled all of the following examples from Month 1, Week 3 of the school year so that you see can the variation and building that happens by grade level.  

sample pages of kindergarten and first grade number of the day activities

sample of second and third grade number of the day pages

Number Identification

On each page, I have marked all of the number identification areas in red.   These areas show all the different places in which students must be able to identify the number in order to complete the activity.  You can see that it progresses from repeated number identification and writing in kindergarten to identifying the number in order to compare it in second and third grade. I love how one simple page can reinforce a skill multiple times. 

Number Representation

On each page, I have marked all of the number representation activities in blue.  It's the variety in these representations that really help kids grasp what a number means.  Learning to see the number as its place value, in a set, with tally marks, equations and words are all part of learning different ways to represent numbers.  It is when a number is explored in multiple ways that students gain an understanding of what the number is, and that each representation ultimately means the same thing.

Working With Numbers

I have marked in green the different places where students are working with the numbers.  These activities help students understand more about how numbers relate to each other and eventually how they relate to real life.  Students must take that understanding of the number as the basis for working with the number as they apply different mathematical processes to it.  

Do you see the progression?  Isn't it exciting?  First, you identify the symbol we call a number and learn its name.  Then you find out what that symbol (AKA number) stands for and practice showing it in many different ways.  Finally, you practice using it to relate with other numbers.  It's an amazing process, and one that can have profound impacts on our students and their future math abilities.

I really love how every page covers every skill and sometimes those thinking skills even overlap.  As you can see, some days one skill might be more focused on than others.  But on other days another skill gets the focus.  It's all part of the progression that leads to mastery.

Try it Out for Free!

How would you like to see and try out three weeks of Number of the Day for free?  You can!  Try the first and second grade freebie by clicking the yellow picture or try the third grade freebie by clicking on the blue and green picture.  Just find the correct grade level and give it a try!

three weeks of number of the day worksheets for free for first grade and second grade

three weeks of number of the day for third grade for free

Ready to Use Number of the Day in Your Classroom?

Grab a full year of Number of the Day and start using it in your classroom today.  It's never too late to add this amazing math routine to your daily schedule.  As an added bonus, the first grade, second grade and third options include both a printable and digital version!  The digital version is great to use whole group on a Smartboard or by projecting.  It is also a great math center using technology or a wonderful daily math activity through remote or distance learning.

full year bundle of kindergarten number of the day activities

full year bundle of first grade number of the day activities

full year bundle of second grade number of the day activities

full year bundle of third grade number of the day activities

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Pin this to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so that you can come back later.

Number of the Day activities are an excellent way for students to build strong number sense skills.  These printable worksheets and digital activities will provide skills based number sense for the entire school year.Number of the Day activities are an excellent way for students to build strong number sense skills.  These printable worksheets and digital activities will provide skills based number sense for the entire school year.

Building a Strong Math Foundation with Number Sense

The day has finally come. The foundation of your new home, your dream home, is being poured.  With excitement, you head over to the property to see the big slab of concrete that will literally support everything you have worked so hard for.   When you arrive, you get a glimpse of the shiny, still wet gray material that glistens in the sun.  Your heart skips a beat as you watch your dream start to take shape.  As you walk around you notice that the concrete is a little uneven.  Some spots are lower than others, and there appears to be a small hill right where your living room is.  You also notice that the foundation doesn't come close to filling to mold that was created for it.  You decide it's okay because what really matters is what has yet to be built.
Building a Strong Math Foundation With Number Sense Tips and Ideas

Building a Strong Math Foundation

If you were going to build a house, would you build it upon a foundation that was only 1/3 the depth of concrete that was required by code or recommended by the engineer?  What about a foundation that was uneven with obvious high spots and low spots?  I sure hope not!  Why?  Because we know how important the foundation is to the stability of the structure being built upon it.  Well, in the math world, number sense is this foundation. 

Everything we do in math rests on this foundation.  I know that this is a strong statement to make, but think about it.  Place value . . . number sense.  Algebra . . . number sense.  Even geometry . . . number sense.  That is why helping out students build a strong number sense foundation is so important.  If we look at math in the early years as just learning to count and identify shapes, then we are completely missing the importance of building a foundation.

So What is Number Sense?

Well, that can actually be a tricky question, since number sense is a broad and abstract concept.  One of the best definitions that I have found came from Janette Bobis, a math educator and researcher in Australia.  She defines number sense as "a well organized conceptual framework of number information that enables a person to understand numbers and number relationships and to solve mathematical problems not bound by traditional algorithms."  It's the ability to see numbers and their relationships in different ways, to work fluidly with numbers, and to be able to easily adapt to number representation without losing meaning. 

Building and Representing Numbers with tally marks is part of number sense

Number sense is what allows students to think about numbers in different ways and solve problems differently, while still reaching the same conclusion.  Number sense is what leads to true mastery and understanding of math.  Check out this short video to see how building a strong number sense in the primary grades can affect a student's math thinking in the future.

What Makes Up Number Sense?

In 1989, the United States National Council of Teachers of Mathematics identified five key components to this abstract notion of number sense:
  1. Number meaning
  2. Number relationships
  3. Number magnitude
  4. Operations involving numbers
  5. Referents for numbers and quantities
It is these skills, when woven together, that create a solid and strong foundation for more complex math concepts.  

Helping Our Students Develop a Solid Foundation

Now that we can better wrap our minds around this nebulous concept of number sense, let's turn to the more important topic of how to help our students get it.  You see, number sense is not something that can really be taught.  It's really something that is learned through experience. And that right there is the key to developing number sense in the classroom - experience.  We need to give our students lots and lots of opportunities to experience numbers.

While we can include some instruction in that equation, without the experience our students will develop that deep foundation that we want them to have.  This is the difference between the "old school" approach of memorizing math and today's (often misunderstood) methods.  Sure, memorization might be an easy way to remember math facts, but it doesn't give our students the underlying problem-solving skills that are developed as number sense strengthens.  

Number Sense Activities for the Classroom

Boy working on building and showing addition problems as part of building a solid number sense

I want to share with you a variety of number sense activities that you can easily add to your classroom.  

1.  Math Centers
Math centers are a great way to give students independent time to experience numbers.  As you prepare and plan your centers and math activities I would encourage you to make sure that you are including variety.  For example, don't just include number identification activities.  Even if identifying numbers to 20 is the standard you are working on, make sure to provide some variety that gets your students experiencing those numbers in different ways.

Building number sense through hands on math centers

2.  Number of the Day
This one is near and dear to my heart because I have used it and seen its effectiveness with students.  Number of the Day is a daily number routine, usually done with the whole class, that gives students with a variety of number sense activities all related to the summer number.  It can be a very powerful tool in helping students develop a strong number sense.  Find out more about how I use Number of the Day in my classroom.

Building Number sense through Number of the Day

3.  Real World Math Connections
Math by nature is abstract.  By connecting these abstract concepts to the real world, we help our students make personal connections.  When they make personal connections, they understand better, and are then able to apply that understanding to future abstract concepts.  You know those word problems that get such a bad reputation (yeah, the ones about two trains heading towards each other)?Well, ty are a great way to connect math to the real world.  Now I will be the first to admit that not all word problems are written well.  But when they are, they can really help students connect to math in a new way.

Another great way to make real-world connections with my students is by sending them out to find math in their world. These days, with technology so readily available, it can be as easy as taking a picture of something that shows 10 and email it to me.  Send them out with a real-world math challenge and I bet they will surprise you and amaze you at what they come back with.

Time to Get Started

So grab your hard hat (I couldn't pass up the opportunity for one more construction connection) and get busy building that foundation.  Our number sense foundation might not be as easy as pouring liquid rock, but over time, we can build it strong by laying it brick by brick.

Don't lose these thoughts and ideas.  Just pin this to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so you will be able to get back here whenever you need to.  And don't forget to check out more number sense ideas.

Building a strong math foundation starts with strong number sense skills.  These tips and ideas will help you incorporate number sense building activities into your classroom.Building a strong math foundation starts with strong number sense skills.  These tips and ideas will help you incorporate number sense building activities into your classroom.

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