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Using Number of the Day Activities for Teaching Number Sense in 2022

Having a number sense routine built into your schedule will ensure that your elementary students will get the consistent practice they need with basic number sense concepts and skills. Number of the day activities is the routine you need! This consistency that comes with implementing these activities will ensure you are teaching number sense daily and lead to your students developing a strong understanding of how numbers work. 

This blog post will answer the following questions:

  • What is the meaning of number sense?
  • Why is teaching number sense important?
  • What are some number sense examples?
  • How do you help your students develop number sense?
  • What are number of the day activities?
  • How do you teach number of the day?

What is Number Sense and Why Is It Important?

Number sense is how children conceptualize and manipulate numbers using both mental math and written expression. Children with a strong number sense understand the relationships between numbers, the ascending and descending value system in order, and why basic arithmetic works.

The National Council of Teachers identified five components that characterise number sense: Number meaning, number relationships, number magnitude, operations involving numbers and referents for numbers and quantities.

Number sense is important because it gives children the confidence to tackle more complex problems and allows them to flexibly work with numbers.

Number Sense Examples

Relating number sense concepts to your students’ own real-life experiences makes their work more interesting and meaningful. It can be helpful to make these connections at the beginning of a unit and document responses on an anchor chart. Refer back to it throughout the unit and add ideas as situations arise.

Real world examples of number sense include:

  • comparing heights
  • counting snacks
  • comparing prices

How Do You Teach Number Sense?

You should always provide your students with a purpose for learning. This can be done by briefly defining number sense, explaining to them why it’s important, and giving them examples of how we use number sense in the real world. The information above will help you do this!

In addition, you can help your students with building number sense through number sense routines. My two favorite times to implement a number sense routine is during the morning routine at the start of the school day as morning work and at the beginning of your math block as a lesson opener. Either one works! Your routine could consist of students independently filling out a number of the day template. Having students do a number of the day template every day will help you make sure you are teaching number sense consistently, which supports your students in developing a strong number sense.

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What is Number of the Day?

Number of the day is an activity where students practice basic number sense concepts and skills. It provides students with daily practice so they can confidently and flexibly work with numbers. Students can record their responses on a printable template, digital template, or white board.

How to Teach Number of the Day

When you first introduce your number of the day activity, project it on your board or create a similar version on an anchor chart that can be posted in the classroom. Model how to complete the template and go over expected behavior. Be proactive with classroom management strategies. For example, what should students do if they have a question or are stuck? What should students do after they complete the template?

Next, invite students to complete the template using a different number. Be sure to use a simple number for the students. The goal of this learning experience is to teach expectations and the format, not challenge them mathematically. Give students some time to work on it independently. Circulate around the room and offer support as needed. 

Finally, pull the group together and invite them to share how the experience went and ask questions. Reinforce expectations and give compliments for positive student behaviors.

Try a Collection of our Math Resources for Free!

We hope this information about teaching number sense and number of the day activities is helpful and would love for you to try these math resources with your students. They offer elementary students opportunities to practice grade level concepts and skills in fun and engaging ways. You can download worksheets specific to your grade level (along with lots of other math freebies) in our free printable math resources bundle using this link: free printable math activities for elementary teachers.

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