4 Fun Activities to Develop Number Sense


Number sense is a compilation of relationships that build a "sense of numbers." 

                                📌THIS IMAGE FOR LATER 

John Van de Walle’s book Teaching Student Centered Mathematics K-3 (2006) talks about four number relationships that help develop number sense.

1. Spacial relationships

2. One and two more or one or two less

3. Benchmarks of 5 and 10

4. Part-part whole

I love doing activities that help develop number sense to make learning fun.

1.Spatial relationships – having a visual of a quantity. Instead of seeing 4 as just the digit 4, students need to see fours things.

Play Boom Cards

Students need to count the hearts and find the numbers. Boom cards are always free plus I love that they are self checking. Check out Free Preview.

2. One and two more, one and two less – this is not the ability to count on two or count back two, but instead knowing which numbers are one or two less or more than any given number.

Play Roll and Exercise 

A fun way to work with numbers and add some movement. Tell students you are going to be rolling a dice and adding/subtracting 1, 2, or 3 to the number rolled.

1. Roll dice and figure out how many exercises to do. 

2. Do squats, jumping jacks, run in place or high knee cross raises.

3. Benchmarks of 5 and 10 – since ten makes up our number system and two fives make up 10, students must know how numbers relate to 5 and 10.

Play with Number Paths

I have number paths for different months of the year so I only teach once and they have fun. Click to check out Number Paths. The paths are grouped by 5. The students must take them apart and put them back together. Then the students write the numbers under the path. Problems can then be solved. See Number Sense

4. Part-Part-Whole – seeing a number as being made up of two or more parts.

Play Spill the Beans

Teach Magically Number Sense  Spill the Beans

Pick a number to focus on then shake the beans and record what you see. Check out other ways to work easily with these beans at Number Bean Fun.

The best thing you can do that builds number sense is asking how numbers and/or problems relate to each other. Students need to see connections easily. Check out 10 Ways to Develop Number Sense.

Questions for Number Sense

Click to check out a ten frame I made to help with talking about number sense. Have students look at numbers, pictures of objects, or problems and ask:

“What do you notice?
“What do you wonder?” 
“What’s the same?
“What’s different?”

Keep working and having fun with number sense.
💖Debora~Teach Magically