Math goggles: subitizing, unitizing, counting

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Moby Snodles Math Goggles

Math goggles help you notice math everywhere. Here is something to notice: mathematics is not about numbers, it’s about patterns. When mathematicians deal with numbers, they use systems and formulas. Young mathematicians can start learning this wizardry from simple visual patterns. Here is an elegant game for kids who are exploring quantities. The goal is to figure out the quantity without counting every dot.


Source: Dot cards.

The game is more sophisticated than it looks, because it links three major sources of number: subitizing, unitizing, and counting. Our book Moebius Noodles: Adventurous Math For the Playground Crowd explains why doing so is important. The quote is below, with two examples from the dot card game.

Does instant recognition of numbers undermine the number sense?

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    1. […] are “four main ways toward building the basic concept of a number:  subitizing…, counting…, unitizing (multiplication and division are based on equal groups or units), and exponentiating… Many US […]

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