*THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS. THIS MEANS, THAT AT NO ADDITIONAL COST TO YOU, I WILL EARN A COMMISSION IF YOU CHOOSE TO MAKE A PURCHASE. I HAVE PERSONALLY USED THESE RESOURCES AND WOULD NOT RECOMMEND THEM IF I DID NOT APPRECIATE THE QUALITY OF THE RESOURCE PRIOR TO RECOMMENDATION. *You intuitively know which of your students

*has number sense*and, even more evident, you know which students

*do not*have number sense. But how can you develop your students’ number sense?

I used to be incredibly frustrated when it came to talking about developing number sense. I knew that some students had it, some students didn’t and that there were dozens of textbooks full of activities that promised to build number sense in my students. And yet, I still didn’t have a good picture of what number sense WAS and WHY these activities were supposed to be building number sense in my students.

I knew that number talks weren’t number sense… but they were supposed to help.

I knew that board games weren’t number sense… but somehow they helped to develop strength.

And I surely knew you couldn’t “teach” number sense…. but then what was I supposed to do?!?

Enter in John Van de Walle’s text “Teaching Student-Centered Mathematics”. If you have not picked up this text,** I can not recommend it highly enough**. I started with the pre-k -2 edition of the book and quickly picked up the 3-5 text as well. That’s saying a lot because these books are not necessarily inexpensive- but they are well worth every single penny.

Van de Walle breaks number sense down into 4 main relationships and makes very clear what it means for a student to “have number sense”.

#### What Does It Mean to Have Number Sense?

**flexibility with numbers**relative to:

- Knowing one more/one less and two more/two less
- Spatial relationships
- Part/Part Whole Thinking
- Benchmarks of 5 and 10

**Let me say that again.**

#### Number Sense Examples

__Building Number Sense with Teen Numbers__**develop number sense around teen numbers**as it involves 3 of the 4 number relationships that students with strong number sense are able to rely on.

**Spatial Relationships-**When the number 13 is laid out on a double ten frame, your students will become quick and effective at subitizing teen numbers by thinking about the relationship between the ten and ones. This conceptual subitizing reinforces number relationships.

**Part/Part/Whole-**Using a number bond to write about the ten and ones embedded in the number 13 supports your students in being able to flexibly be able to compose and decompose this number.

**Benchmarks of 5 and 10-**By building the number 13 on a double ten frame, students can readily see a thirteen as a ten and 3 more. The embedded ten is readily apparent in this model.

__Building Number Sense with Decimal Numbers__

**Spatial Relationships**– The growing (or shrinking!) decimal number is displayed on a place value template. Students will practice quickly recognizing the value of their number given these visual cues.

**1 More/1 Less 2 More/2 Less-**It is the nature of this game to practice one more and one less. The activity boosts number sense because students are asked to think about the number that would be produced if they have “one more tenth” or “one more hundredth” they will develop flexibility in place value thinking by practicing this relationship.

**Part/Part/Whole –**In naming the current value of their number, students will compose tenths and hundredths. This part/whole thinking reinforces that a number such as 0.63 is the same as 0.60 and 0.03. This type of understanding leads to flexibility in our students as they deal with decimal operations in the future.

**Benchmarks of 5 and 10-**In this activity, students are able to compose ten hundredths to create a new tenth. Students will also recognize that 9 hundredths, for example, is only one hundredth less than 1 tenth.

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