Tuesday, September 09, 2008

[TIPS] Attention Math teachers: Number sense could be VERY important?

Just picked this one up via the ASCD newsbrief daily email. (Remember, you were supposed to subscribe to it, too)

According to the article, “number sense” is the ability to look at a grouping of items and be able to estimate how many there are in the group. The article says,
“"We discovered that a child's ability to quickly estimate how many things are in a group significantly predicts their performance in school mathematics all the way back to kindergarten," said Justin Halberda, an assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences at Johns Hopkins University who led the research, published online yesterday by the journal Nature. "It was very surprising." “

Read the entire article. VERY interesting, I thought. Maybe we should start early with posers or bulletin boards of collections of objects and having the kids estimate how many there are. Could that help? Or, is it, as the article says, just an “innate ability?” Well, it couldn’t hurt, right?

“Halberda said he has already begun studying whether testing a child's number sense at age 3 predicts his performance in math class, whether there may be a way to boost a child's number sense, and whether doing so might help him learn math. “

I loved the quick explanation of the idea of number sense. They say that when we see the bus pull up to the curb we can look in the windows at the two sections and quickly estimate which end of the bus is more crowded, and then choose the door accordingly. Never thought of that.

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