• Subitizing


Laying the foundations for number sense


Recently Subitizing:Laying the Foundations for Number Sense  won an Academics' Choice Smart Book Award for eductional excellence. Many thanks to all who have helped us win this award - especially the teachers who have taken the ideas on board and without whose support we might never have believed that international recognition was possible. 

The theme for this book is:

In what ways does an emphasis on subitizing promote improved number sense and computation skill?

Much has been written about our innate ability to subitize, compare and quantify before we can even count and yet we gloss over this natural ability when laying down foundations for number sense. We know much about the brain and how it has evolved, certainly enough to implement a more brain based approach to number. And the following comments from Sousa suggest that the place to start is subitizing.

“The human brain is a five-star pattern recogniser.”

“The brain’s ability to detect patterns and make associations is one of its greatest strengths."

Developmentally, children begin their mathematical journey by recognizing patterns within groups of objects and this process is named perceptual subitizing.

Perceptual subitizing refers to the ability to see a group of objects and to know without counting how many objects there are in the group. Dice and dominoes are examples of objects that rely on our ability to use perceptual subitizing.

The Australian Curriculum: Mathematics emphasizes the importance of subitizing by including the following topics in the Foundation Year syllabus:

Connect number names, numerals and quantities, including zero, initially up to 10 and then beyond (ACMNA002)

Subitize small collections of objects (ACMNA003)

This book has mental routines, strategy lessons, games and problematised situations to support the teaching of subitizing.

It includes a DVD with videos and FLASH programs as well as resources to make subitizing cards.


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