Math Tip Monday--Number Sense

I am linking up with K's Classroom Kreations and Theresa's Teaching Tidbits for Math Tip Monday! This month will be focusing on Number Sense. Be sure to come back the first Monday of the month for new math tips.

Number sense is a building block to develop math skills; without it, you can't grow mathematically. Beginning from toddler years children begin to develop a sense of number. Primary math focuses a lot of time on number sense. As math concepts grow more complex and automaticity is desired, number sense still needs to be taught. What are some ways for primary teachers to teach number sense? Here is a list of 5 ways I teach number sense in my classroom.

1. Multiple Representations

It is important for children to understand that number is a concept and there are many ways to show number. Students often think the numeral is what "number" is, but there is so much more to the idea of number. Using a variety of representations of a number helps students understand the relationships numbers have with one another.

Above are different examples of the number two. Included is the numeral along with different ways you can show the number two. 2 is simply the symbol we use to show the number, but how else can you show that value of the number 2?

You can find this number representation activity here or by clicking on the pictures.

Below are some examples for seventeen.

You can find this multiple representation Fishing for Numbers game in my store by clicking on the pictures or here.

These FREE anchor charts show the number one through ten in different ways. This is a great resource for students to use when working through the year. As students become familiar with different representations of a number, you can have them create their own anchor charts for higher numbers. Click here or on the pictures to grab this freebie!

Grab this freebie here!

2. Addition & Subtraction

Children need time and multiple opportunities to practice and use their number sense. Addition and subtraction allows students to use number sense in a real application. Understanding the meaning of addition and subtraction is important when looking at relationships between numbers.

Above is my fall themed math bingo game. Students are able to independently or with a small group practice their number sense through addition and subtraction. To find the fall activities click on the picture or here!

Below are addition and subtraction cards from my Fishing for Numbers activity focusing on multiple representations. Click here or the picture to find it in my store.

Another opportunity for students to practice their number sense with addition and subtraction is through this Christmas Math Bingo found in my Christmas Math Centers pack. Click here or the
picture to find it in my store!

3. Using Manipulatives.

It is no secret that using manipulatives help students learn all different math concepts. Developing number sense is no different. Allowing students to be able to group together, add, take away, and play with the idea of number allows deeply strengthens their number sense.

There are so many ways to do this. I have used the counting bears or dinosaurs, beans, cereal, and small erasers (you can get seasonal ones too!) When children are able to use their hands and experiment with an idea (we can use math for an example,) they can begin to develop mastery.

4. Problem Solving

I LOVE problem solving! It allows students to experiment with ideas, thunk critically, and develop new strategies. Not only is problem solving great for developing number sense, but it is also a life long skill used across many subject fields. You can find a collection of my math journals by clicking on the pictures or clicking here.

Students need to use their number sense to solve real world problems. A student may be able to use an equation, but do they truly have the number sense to understand what is happening? Using problem solving and math journals will help students see real wold relationships with numbers. You can find a collection of my math journals by clicking on the pictures or clicking here.

You can find a collection of my math journals by clicking on the pictures or clicking here.

5. Number Order

Children with great number sense know the order of numbers and count in a variety of ways. Counting and placing numbers in order in a GREAT way to strengthen number sense in any student. Try counting in different ways such as by 1s, 2s, 5s, or 10s. You can count forward or backward, make a song or a rhyme, use number order cards, or play a counting game. There are many ways to practice the order of number which reinforces the relationships numbers have with one another.

You can find this number order activity in my Valentine's Day Math Center pack in my store. Click here or any of the pictures to find it in my store!

Thanks for stopping by to check out this months Math Tip! Join me back next month for some new math tips to use in your classroom. In the meantime, check out some other great tips from my friends below!

Happy Mathing!


  1. Great ideas! Your posters look great and would be a nice resource for students. I do a similar activity called Today's Number where students represent the number in different ways. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Thank you for sharing so many great ways to develop number sense! I love the posters showing multiple representations. Thank you!

  3. You have a lot of wonderful ideas! I love the anchor chart posters and fishing for numbers game! I downloaded the anchor chart posters this morning! They are wonderful!


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