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Math 3-6

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Math 3-6 > Factors > Number Sense

Number Sense

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Number Sense includes both the conceptual understanding of whole and rational numbers and their magnitude, and the ability to represent and operate with these numbers. Students with good Number Sense can readily transition between representations of quantity in the real world and mathematical expressions, and therefore can easily access and use their number knowledge to inform their math problem solving.

Main Ideas

Number Sense includes multiple skills that begin to develop in the early years (see the Math PK-2 model) and continue to be foundational to successful math learning and performance:

  • Symbolic Number: An understanding of how a quantity maps onto the symbols - or numerals - that represent it and the ability to combine those numerals;
  • Decomposition: An understanding of how to break numbers into smaller parts;
  • Place Value: An understanding of the base-10 system and the value of individual numerals in a multi-digit number; and
  • Estimation: The ability to give a rough approximation of the magnitude of a number or value of a calculation.

While Number Sense includes understanding of the magnitude represented by both abstract symbols (i.e., numerals) and Non-symbolic Number representations (e.g., dots), research has shown that Symbolic Number knowledge is a stronger predictor of students' math outcomes.

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