What age students is KENS Math for?

KENS Math is designed to help early learners in Pre-K, Kindergarten and First Grade. It can be used as a supplement to any existing math curriculum, or serve as a stand-alone kindergarten math curriculum that meets all the kindergarten common core math standards.

The ability for conceptual subitizing – a key component of number sense – begins in infancy. Educators and parents can help children build on that natural gift by helping kids 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 program is flexible and can be used in a traditional classroom format, in centers, at home and for structured peer-assisted learning. The program is also an excellent choice for transitional and “Super Pre-K” classrooms. Since the program is leveled, it can meet diverse learning needs, including those of English learners and special needs students. Teachers can also use the material as a response to intervention (RTI) program.

How do I know if my students need KENS Math or number sense education?

It’s our belief that all children should begin number sense education in pre-school and continue practicing and accelerating those skills through kindergarten and first grade. Early math skills are a primary indicator of a student’s overall academic success, as shown by multiple research studies conducted in the last 5 years. More specifically, research indicates that subitizing, number line, and number magnitude skills, which the KENS Math program teach, are reliable predictors of later math achievement at all grade levels. Alternatively, students who don’t develop number sense in kindergarten are highly likely to develop math difficulties as early as second and third grade. You can read more about the supporting studies on our Research page.

The Kids Education for Number Sense program (KENS Math) includes one-minute assessment tests that educators can use to identify which students require increased practice and number sense skill building. The assessment is composed of challenge problems that measure a student’s ability to subitize one to five dots quickly. You can download the free KENS Math assessment tests and instructions how to use them in the Resources section of the website. Using the assessment tests with your students will help you identify the need for number sense education, as well as which level of practice to start them at.

How do I know which level to start my students?

KENS Math also includes one-minute assessment tests that you can use to determine which level to start each student and to identify which students require increased practice and number sense skill building. You can download the free KENS Math assessment tests in the Resources section of the website. Using the assessment tests with your students will help you identify the need for number sense education, as well as which level of practice to start them at.

Since the program is leveled, it can meet diverse learning needs, including those of English learners and special needs students. Teachers can also use the material as a response to intervention (RTI) program.

How do I know my students’ number sense is progressing?

You can assess students’ number sense improvement by their ability to complete one level of subitizing flashcards with no mistakes. As they master each level, start them on the next level. This is how you know their subitizing skills are improving.

Similarly, students will show their heightening understanding of number magnitude by conquering more challenging number lines. Three year olds should start with number lines labeled 1 – 5. As their knowledge increases they move to 0 – 10 number lines and then to number lines they count by twos, 10’s, 20’s and so forth.

How is KENS Math different from other math curriculum?

Research associates number sense with math achievement. KENS Math focuses on helping students develop a deeply rooted number sense which includes the ability to subitize (the ability to see a set of objects instantly without counting), create number combinations and recognize number magnitude using number lines.

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.

How much time each day should I be devoting to KENS Math in the classroom?

We feel the more number sense training the better, but you’ll be amazed how your students respond to KENS Math within just days. We recommend starting with at least 15 minutes of number sense training per day. Number sense training can take many forms, traditional classroom format, in centers, at home and for structured peer-assisted learning. The KENS Math classroom kit is chock full of dozens of exercises, activities and games. We’re confident the materials will keep you well-equipped with valuable math lessons to use all year. We also post an exclusive free printable at every month so visit our site frequently to expand your collection of materials.  Dr. Ken Newbury and other authors also post great ideas and inspiration for building number sense on our “Common Sense Number Sense” blog.

What is “brain-based” research and what is “brain training”?

“Brain-based” research examines ways that the brain naturally makes mathematical sense of the world. For example, we know from research that specific areas of the brain light up when presented with an Arabic numeral. Brain researchers have also identified specific sites in the brain that are associated with math learning and number lines. KENS Math is designed to work with and build on the natural way the brain learns and responds to numbers.

How does the price of the KENS Math Classroom Kit compare to other math programs and curriculums?

Our goal is to make the KENS Math program accessible to as many students and teachers as possible. We’ve priced the classroom kit 30% below the cost of similar programs and curriculum, while expanding the amount of materials contained in each kit. Supplying materials for 20 kids doesn’t cut the mustard in a time when class size unfortunately continues to increase because of budget cuts. So we include enough materials for a class or 25. We also make the program accessible to homeschoolers with a kit sized for their needs. Educators can also buy individual wooden number lines, foamies, subitizing flash cards at a very reasonable price should they need more materials or replacement materials.

We also provide a number of resources free to educators including the KENS Math Assessment and a free Reproducible of the month. Dr. Newbury and our other KENS Math bloggers also provide Do-It-Yourself number sense games and activities on our blog “Common Sense Number Sense”. As if that weren’t enough, we also distribute freebies from time to time on our Facebook page and Twitter feeds.