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Putting the sense in Number Sense

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The best teaching happens when you make a lesson visual, spatial and auditory. That’s why I love teaching kids number sense with a math balance.

Utilizing a math balance in a whole-class setting of twenty-seven kids would be tricky, but at home with one child it’s easy. The  balance we own came from Right Start and costs $25.

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5 does not equal 8. It’s so easy to see.

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Just like it’s easy to figure out that there are many number combinations that equal 5.

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In fact, we spent a full ten minutes just figuring out the number 5!

In pedagogy, we call this “Constructivism”.  It means learning a new concept through your own experimentation and discovery. Giving children the full Constructivist experience isn’t always possible, but a math balance makes it a lot easier.

For more posts about our math balance please click here and here.

Learning to add with a math balance

A math balance is a fun way for kids to develop number sense.

A math balance is a fun way for kids to develop number sense.

My daughter Jenna is 4, and is in the middle of completing Right Start Level A.

Here’s some fun we had this morning “playing math”, using our math balance.  This isn’t from a specific Level A lesson; it’s just the two of us making things up. But this will give you the idea of how you can use a math balance to help kids develop number sense and computation skills.

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First, your child puts weights on the numbers you are adding.

First, your child puts weights on the numbers she is adding.

Next, your child counts on fingers to get her answer.

Next, your child counts on fingers to get her answer.

Finally, check your answer on the balance.

Finally, she checks her answer on the balance.

Fun, right? Our balance is from our Right Start kit, but you can also purchase a Number Balance on Amazon.