Parents often complain of having a tough time coping with their children, as they refuse to study math, always giving excuses to drop math classes. To combat the ‘math phobic’ phenomenon, it is vital to have kids love the subject and develop an interest towards it right from the beginning. So as to say, the foundation should be strong, which is set during the Early Year schooling of children. Children start by learning ordering of numbers, just as they learn to recite A to Z. Counting 1-10 is learnt via the rote learning method and repetition is key.
After being comfortable with identifying numbers, children are introduced to counting. Counting essentially means being able to put a figure to the number of items that are before you. In our daily lives, we count money and calculate the change the shopkeeper owes us. We require math to figure out how much time it will take to finish a job task at hand and thereby count & estimate the number of hours required. Counting comes in handy even in sports matches, where the referee is actively involved in announcing the score, to determine which team is leading the game. These are just a few examples of how counting is so important, and acing it will only do us good.
Different strategies to learn to count:
There are different strategies and stages of counting that were formulated to make it easy for children to grasp the concept. Read further to understand and apply these simple methodologies while teaching your children the correct techniques of counting.
When objects are counted in a fixed or consistent manner, it is referred to as Stable Order Counting. The order in which the objects are counted is important, as it starts from 1, 2, 3, and goes on in the normal way of counting. Here each object is assigned a number on a one-to-one-correspondence basis. For example; place 5 apples on the table and give children a set of number cards that they will place under each apple starting from left to right or top to bottom depending on whether the apples are positioned horizontally or vertically. This is the most commonly taught method to students in Schools across Dubai in their early years and children as young as 3 years of age should be able to understand and apply stable order counting techniques. Preschools in UAE and across the world use different teaching aids such as; colorful objects (cups, pom-poms, different fruit replicas, etc.) to make stable order counting easy to follow and implement.
Cardinal counting or numbering is a simple process by which the child assigns cardinal numbers to a set or group of objects. By doing so, we can determine the quantity or amount of items that are present in the set. When questioning the student ask the following; ‘can you tell me how many articles are there in this sample collection? By cardinal counting, we can know and compare the number of objects in each set. This method is even used by economists and mathematicians to analyze things like; the population of one region than in the other, the batch of shoes in one box as compared to the other, and so on.
Let us dive into an example to explain the concept of conservation counting more meaningfully. Just close your eyes and imagine there are 5 ping pong balls kept in front of you, now move the balls slightly away from each other or change the pattern in which the balls are placed. Does that affect the count of the balls that were originally given to you? The answer is No! This can teach our children that the size of the object does not mean that the count is more. When there are 3 real cars and 3 toy cars kept before you, it does not mean the 3 real cars are more in number than the toy cars, just because they are big. It is just larger than the other, but the count remains the same. Mathseeds is a prominent Math digital platform that encourages children to grasp basic math concepts in a fun & engaging manner. Suited for kindergarten and primary school-going lads of ages 3 years to 9 years, Mathseeds has earned a reputation in GCC regions of the Middle East. We urge you to try out their one-to-one lessons and motivational modules, to believe it for yourself.
To make the process of counting faster, for large quantities of units, unitizing comes in handy. If you were working in a candy factory that produces lakhs of sweets per day, how is it possible to count each unit? In order to do so, the units are grouped equally having the same count. You may want to create groups of 10’s, 20’s or 40’s and use the skip-counting method to create the packages.
Having a strong hold on counting can go a long way in understanding more important math concepts that will be taught in higher grades like; multiplication, addition, fractions, place value, and so on. Once your kid starts doing well with counting, celebrate the milestone and reward him for all his achievements.