Mate,

here's your answer

look for math around you

the first step toward getting to make sense of numbers is to see numbers as a sense-making tool. talk about the math you use in your life, such as counting out snacks or comparing prices. having specific examples of how numbers are used in the real world kids understand why ’re so important. once students recognize real-world application, ’re more excited to learn about math.

when you see kids applying mathematical concepts, point it out. notice counting? say, “you sure know a lot about numbers! ” see kids comparing their heights? say, “you’re comparing lengths. that’s amazing math! ” acknowledgement of their use of numbers in real-life situations see themselves as mathematicians.

focus on the process, not the answer

when students practice counting, ’re learning one-to-one correspondence, or how to match each object ’re counting to each number ’re saying

to them practice concept, give kids large groups of objects to count, and allow them to work independently. it can be tempting to jump in and correct simple mistakes, such as counting an object twice or skipping one, but resist the urge. instead, ask to double-check their answers. by giving them the opportunity to find their own mistakes, you’ll better facilitate their understanding of number sense.

as your class moves into solving addition and subtraction problems, follow the same approach. encouraging your students to discuss how came up with their answers gives them an opportunity to vocalize their thought process, is critical for self-correction and developing an understanding of different strategies for solving problems.

develop math practices

the common core math practice standards describe the skills that students need in order to be successful mathematicians. even at a young age,

building number sense goes hand-in-hand with developing these skills. by getting into the habit of checking their work, kids are “making sense of problems and persevering in solving them” (math practice 1). to develop a deep understanding of math, we want to get into the habit of asking themselves if make sense as work with numbers. the sooner we start, the better!