Numicon in the Early Childhood classroom

numiconWhen it comes to teaching maths, it’s difficult to know which resources to use. There are countless resources available, and many are effective teaching tools. However, recently in Early Childhood, and other levels of the school, we have introduced the teaching resource ‘Numicon’. After using the resources consistently for Term One, we are finding that Numicon has been a fantastic resource and is producing exciting results.     Numicon is a multi-sensory tool which has been designed to raise mathematical achievement across all ability levels. Numicon:

  • “Develops fluency by using a visual, practical base to develop conceptual understanding and fluent recall.
  • Helps children to reason mathematically through the use of concrete objects and spoken language to explain and justify.
  • Develops children into confident problem-solvers” (Oxford University Press, 2013).

We have been using Numicon as part of our Mathematics rotations each week and the children have really responded well to it. By using the Numicon regularly, we are getting a good indication of the children’s number sense and their understanding of what numbers actually represent. Listed below are just some of the activities the children have engaged with using Numicon during Term 1:

  • Becoming familiar with the shapes (finding the shapes in tubs of sand, feely bag as well as hiding them behind the children’s’ back)

numicon

  • Count the shapes (the children have been encouraged to notice that the last final number used describes the total; also known as cardinality).
  • Subitising with the shapes (being able to instantly recognise ‘how many’ without counting).
  • Ordering the shapes from 1 – 10 and 10 – 1.
  • Ordering the shapes then taking one away…which one is missing?
  • Matching the shapes with the numerals as well as groups of objects.
  • Finger patterns (“hold up one finger and finger the shape that will fit”).
  • Patterning, both with the shapes and the pegs (creating ABAB etc. patterns). We also threaded the shapes and pegs to create patterns (great fine motor task!)

Something that has been very exciting since introducing Numicon into the classroom is the mathematical language and discussions it is producing. The children are making mathematical observations and using language to explain what they are seeing. For example, when holding a ‘seven’ shape one student noted that if he hid the ‘odd’ part “then it would be six”. Another student noticed, when building a tower with the ‘one’ shapes, that “one and one and one and one is like four”. After seeing such wonderful interactions and discussions coming from Numicon this term we will be continuing to use this valuable resource and seeing more exciting results! Emma Juleff Teacher – Early Childhood References Oxford University Press, 2013, Numicon: Building a secure future in mathematics for every child. Cited 4th April, 2014 from https://global.oup.com/education/content/primary/series/numicon/?region=international

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