March 29, 2024

Building Strong Foundations: Fostering Number Sense in Young Learners

Number sense is the cornerstone of math proficiency. It's more than just memorizing facts; it's a deep understanding of numbers and their relationships. This understanding allows students to solve problems flexibly, estimate effectively, and approach math with confidence.
Number sense is a gateway to higher-level mathematics. Without a strong foundation, students struggle to grasp more complex concepts like fractions, decimals, and algebra. Number sense allows them to make connections between different areas of mathematics, fostering a deeper understanding of the subject as a whole.
So, how can we develop strong number sense in young students? For some students, number sense comes naturally. For others, number sense can be developed with practice. myQBook offers a comprehensive number sense development curriculum.
Utilizing myQBook’s number sense curriculum, students can learn more than 350 number sense concepts and practice their skills with sample problems. Developing this type of number sense will not only make their current schoolwork a child’s play but also enable them to advance to higher level math classes.
Take for instance how a deeper understanding of one of the simplest mathematical properties, associative property of addition and multiplication, can make mental calculations easier. The associative property states that the value of mathematical expressions does not change when the order or grouping of the numbers used in the expression are moved around.
This is true only when all the operations in the expression are either all additions or all multiplication. In other words, to add or multiply three or more numbers it is not necessary to add or multiply them in the same order they are given.
Students can use this property and their understanding of numbers to make calculations easy by following the 3 simple steps below:
  1. Group the numbers in such a way that the sum or the product of the numbers in the group is an easy number to add or multiply such as a ten or a multiple of ten.
  2. Now find the sum or product of each group.
  3. Finally add or multiply the results to get the answer.
For example, let’s say we need to find the sum of 9 + 78 + 91 + 22. Following the above 3 steps gives us:
  1. Group the numbers for easy addition: (9 + 91) + (78 + 22).
  2. Find the sum of each group: 100 + 100.
  3. Then find the final sum: 100 + 100 = 200.
Let’s use another example to see how this will work for multiplying numbers. Let’s say we need to find the product of 4 x 358 x 25. Following the above 3 steps gives us:
  1. Group the numbers for easy multiplication: (4 x 25) x 358.
  2. Find the product of each group: 100 x 358.
  3. Then find the final product: 358 x 100 = 35,800.
Although the above is a very simple concept, it clearly demonstrates how a deep understanding of simple mathematical properties and numbers can enable students to do quite complex calculations in their head. Developing strong number sense fosters a sense of confidence in students. They can approach mathematical problems with a sense of curiosity and exploration, knowing they have the tools to make sense of the numbers involved. This confidence spills over into other areas, encouraging critical thinking and problem-solving skills that are valuable in all walks of life.
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