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Seeing Dots

Published almost 2 years ago by Ann Baker


Subitizing, estimating and quantifying are dominant themes in the Early Years.

When we work with EY teachers, they particularly love the dotty plastic table cloths that I cut into enough segments for each participant to have one.

The pieces of tablecloth become the background for a masking activity. We take a piece of A4 and cut shapes out of the middle, to create masks.

seeing dots 1

Through the mask, we:

Children will say things like: “I saw two lots of 3 and one more. Double 3 is 6 and count on 1 makes 7.” “I saw two lots of 4, double 4 is 8.” “I saw that I could skip count in 2s, 2, 4, 6, 8. When I moved it a bit more I could still see the 8 and I could count on 1 to make 9 altogether.” Endless possibilities for creating new challenges and practicing subitizing, estimating and quantifying.

An alternative approach: Drawing shape outlines as shown below provided many opportunities for estimating and checking, often with surprising results.

seeing dots 2

Note: The dotty table cloth was found in Cheap as Chips and cost me $2.50. It was large enough to make 120 pieces, each about an A5 size. Not an expensive resource!

Check out our Foundations resource here and Conceptual Subitizing resource here. Enjoy!

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