Math PK-2

Systems Change


Dot cards build number sense and promote early math skills, particularly Spatial Skills and Non-symbolic Number knowledge. By quickly recognizing spatial arrangements of dots, such as those on a dice or domino, students are able to see how many dots there are without Counting.

Use It in the Classroom

Starting at 2:10, watch how this elementary teacher uses dot cards to encourage Non-symbolic Number understanding. By asking students to explain how they got their answers, this teacher supports their math Language Skills and development of Mathematical Flexibility.

  • Teachers can create dot cards with simple supplies such as index cards or paper plates. Dot cards can be integrated in many ways, from math talks during which teachers flash a dot card and ask students how many dots they saw and to explain their reasoning to math card games as a fun, motivational activity.
  • Design It into Your Product

    Videos are chosen as examples of strategies in action. These choices are not endorsements of the products or evidence of use of research to develop the feature.

    Subitizing Flash Cards displays dot cards with varying objects to encourage pattern recognition and understanding of part-whole relationships. Because learners must select the numeral of the corresponding quantity displayed on a dot card, they also build their number understanding.

  • Products can build on young learners' intuitive Non-symbolic Number knowledge by providing different arrangements of the same number of dots. This encourages more complex thinking of how dots can be separated into composite parts; for example, six dots can be four and two or three and three. This part-whole thinking is foundational for basic Operations and can impact learners' understanding of Place Value.