The Building Blocks to Number Sense

The ability for conceptual subitizing – a key component of number sense – begins in infancy. As children grow, they naturally show the ability to subitize. As an educator, you can help your students build on that natural gift by helping them train their brains to quickly identify sets of numbers, know how numbers relate to each other and solve traditional mathematical equations. Mastery of number sense skills frees children from relying on finger counting which often leads to mistakes and slows students down as they progress to more challenging math work.

The KENS Math methodology focuses on the development of three essential number sense skills:

  • Subitizing – the ability to see a set of objects instantly without counting. Well-developed subitizing skills allow students to process math equations quicker and avoid mistakes common to counting.
  • Creating number combinations – traditional math facts like 2 + 2 = 4
  • Recognizing number magnitude using number lines – developing an understanding of number lines help children learn to estimate and develop a great memory for numbers.

Also, a vast amount of research indicates that subitizing, number line, and number magnitude skills are reliable predictors of later math achievement at all grade levels. These skills are essential to the development of basic math skills including addition and subtraction. Linear board games and play-based math activities also reinforce those skills. In KENS Math, the placement of dots, the gradual increase in challenge, and the intentional training of subitizing and number combinations is designed to take advantage of these key research findings to further support each student’s number sense development.

A Fresh Approach

KENS Math takes a fresh approach to teaching early learners math. It focuses on the very foundation of math in a way that is fun and interactive for teachers and students. It weaves a variety of activities and teaching strategies together and is designed to be hands-on and easily adapted for the early education environment. Some examples of the activities and strategies included in KENS Math are:

  • Linear board games that will improve number line skills, number identification, and arithmetic skills.
  • Manipulatives, such as, wooden number lines and foamies, provide a hands-on experience and help the content come alive.
  • Circle number lines and foamies to aid students in subitizing and placement of numbers on a number line.
  • Subitizing flash cards to gradually shape number sense skills level by level.

Rather than relying only on verbal memory to recall math facts, the KENS Math methodology engages the brain through “Go, Show & Tell” exercises that build number sense in a fun, interactive way.

  • Go – Students use visual memory to teach the brain to subitize or quickly identify number sets, a skill that has a direct correlation to later math success.
  • Show– Students engage in hands-on activities that teach an understanding of number combinations and number magnitude.
  • Tell – Students leverage their “go” and “show” learning and verbal memory to master traditional math equations.

Leveled Learning

In the primary grades of Pre-K, kindergarten and first grade the range of students’ number sense varies widely. The KENS Math program is leveled, giving teachers the ability to differentiate instruction and provide the appropriate level of challenge for each student. This leveled approach also helps teachers meet diverse learning needs, including those of English learners and special needs students. The curriculum can also be used as a response to intervention (RTI) program.

In each level of the program, there are different lesson plans geared toward achieving the goal of that level. Teachers can use student achievement data and the KENS Math Assessment to determine when they introduce each level to each individual student. Each lesson plan includes a specific outline including the Goals, Vocabulary, Materials and Games to use during that level of instruction. Download  sample pages of the leveled lesson plans in KENS Math Teacher’s Edition.

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