Q&A #1771

Number concept

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From: Marielouise (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: Jul 16, 1999 at 21:39:06
Subject: Re: Number concept

I have once worked with pre-school, three and four year old children. I have also raised five children of my own. It is miraculous how they are able to associate a seemingly random symbol 5 with the number of fingers on each of their hands and the number of toes on each of their feet. Perhaps you might indirectly teach your students some of the ancient numeration systems. In these systems one stick represent one of something, two sticks represented two of something, three sticks represented three of something, and so on. There was a need to get an aggregate symbol after awhile because it was difficult to perceive the difference between eight sticks and nine sticks without organizing them. If you ask children to find for themselves or make up a symbol to represent groups with the same number of objects; for example, five pencils, five coins, five stones, most will eventually see the relationship between the number of objects and the symbol chosen to represent them. I think that children have to associate our Hindu-Arabic numerical system over and over again to different aggregates of objects before they understand what a symbol represents. Think about this. Certainly, check out the sites referenced in Suzanne's reply. -Marielouise, for the Teacher2Teacher service

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