Subitizing: More Than Meets the Eye

dice.pngSubitizing? Say what? This post clearly defines the term and provides excellent examples of the two types of instant recognition of quantity. I especially like the author’s suggestions for how to incorporate this skill in math instruction for older kids. Those of us who grew up playing board games are quick to recognize the patterns on a die (and the quantity on the “old fashioned” domino). That’s skill may be lacking on many of the games kids play with tablets and computers.

Learning is a journey, not an endpoint.

Subitizing is a relatively new concept for me. Sadly, it is not an integrated part of the mathematics curriculum yet. Therefore, children often have little experience with subitizing. When I first learned about this concept, I thought it pertained only to kindergarten, first grade, and struggling students beyond those years. However, I have now seen that children of all ages benefit from subitizing.

What is subitizing, and why is it important? Clements and Sarama (2009) define two types of subitizing. The first, perceptual subitizing, pertains to the ability to both perceive intuitively and simultaneously the amount in small number sets. No counting is neccessary, you just know the amount when you see it. Children develop the prerequisite skills for perceptual subitization at a young age. According to Clements and Sarama, children begin naming collections of 1, 2, and 3 from ages 1-2. By age three, children can also create…

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