At the beginning of Kindergarten, I always did a lot of number sense activities. Working on recognizing numbers is important, but as important, is helping students understand all the way to represent that number. Number Sense helps students be able to understand numbers and their relationships.
When first teaching number sense, we used an anchor chart. This is just an example below, but I believe that anchor charts are best made when the students help. Let your class draw some of the pictures so they understand the chart better and are able to refer to it later on. An anchor chart such as this, can show students different ways to show and represent a number. I love this post-it stand that has chart paper on 1 side and a dry-erase board on the other.
Being fluent in number sense skills will come in handy later on when students learn more advanced math. For example, they’ll quickly see 9 dots on a 10 frame and can turn that into and addition problem: 5 (on top) + 4 (on bottom) = 9. Here are some of the number sense activities I used for math centers and whole group.
Math Center Activities
These number sense worksheets are easy to throw in sheet protectors for centers. Your class will love being able to use dry erase markers with them. Students will be able to show many ways to show a number. First we started with these numbers 1-10 worksheets.
Once ready, I will add these worksheets 11-20. Teacher tip: put the worksheets double sided in the sheet protectors so each kid can do 2 worksheets at a time.These number sense puzzles are another fun activity for students to work on seeing numbers in 4 ways. Even better, they’re FREE!This treasure number sense matching game has students match coins with number words, tally marks, dice, and 10 frames to each number in the treasure chest.
Have you seen these colorful photo boxes from Michaels? They are perfect to hold small centers and fit my task cards. Students use a clothespin to clip their answer, then record their answer on the small worksheet provided. I also include answer keys for them to check their work, or you can put a dot on the back of the card for the right answer. My task card bundles are available for preK – 2nd grade. They come with SO many activities for both reading and math, they can last your whole year!
If you have iPads in your classroom (and can download the free Powerpoint App), I have the same task cards, but in digital form. These are self checking because they have answers for correct/incorrect, and only transition to the next slide if students get the answer right. These are great for independent work or math centers! There are audio directions, so they know exactly what skill they’re working on, and how to play.
Whole Group Activities
Below are a few number sense activities you can do during your whole group math block. Remember those digital task cards I mentioned above? You can use them whole group too! I didn’t have a smart board, but we still used the task cards by just projecting them onto my white board. First, this student pointed to her answer at the board. Then, I clicked her answer on the computer so we could see if she got it correct/incorrect.
One of my students’ favorite activities for any time of the day is Fluency & Fitness®! These are educational brain breaks where students get a chance to work on literacy and math skills while getting in some movement. Teachers love using these for literacy and math, but also as a way to sneak in learning for transitions, brain breaks, inside recess, and more! Here’s a peek at Fluency & Fitness® in action!
My Fluency & Fitness products have been so popular, I recently made an entire website dedicated to them. The new website has over 700 videos so teachers can access skills for their entire year all in 1 spot. No more digging through files to pull up this activity! By creating a website, I was also able to add NEW features to this resource, such as music, timed slides, animated kids, additional exercises, and more. Check it out and try 2 videos for FREE!Another favorite whole group activity is Fluency Find It. These activities help students become more fluent in math and literacy, build teamwork skills, and get in a little bit of movement. Here’s a peek at one of the number sense resources.Students work in pairs or small teams. They see what’s on the screen, then hunt for the answer on the worksheet provided. When they see a “switch spots” slide, they move spots and let the next student record the answers. Switching spots could mean for kids to move to the end of the line, or move to a new spot at the table. I also have Fluency Find It available for many skills PreK – 2nd grade.
I hope some of these number sense activities can help your blooming mathematicians!
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