Number and Numeration Concepts for Elementary Students

If you look at the dictionary definition of 'numeration,' you find three concepts listed. The first is the process of counting or naming numbers. Second is the system of writing numbers. The last is the method of calculating (e.g., addition, subtraction, multiplication and division). Each definition is worth looking at.

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Number and Numeration Concepts for Elementary Students

If you look at the dictionary definition of 'numeration,' you find three concepts listed. The first is the process of counting or naming numbers. Second is the system of writing numbers. The last is the method of calculating (e.g., addition, subtraction, multiplication and division). Each definition is worth looking at.

Elementary Concepts of Numbers and Numeration

Counting

You probably started teaching your child to count when he was very young by counting eyes, noses, toes and fingers. When he starts school, he will either learn to count to higher numbers or show off that he can already do that. In fact, by the end of kindergarten he will have learned to count to 100 by ones and by tens.

A fun way to introduce counting is to read a book, such as:

  • Harriet Goes to the Circus by Betsy Maestro (this book also introduces ordinal numbers)
  • Richard Scarry's Best Counting Book Ever by Richard Scarry
  • The Icky Bug Counting Book by Jerry Pallotta

Reading and Writing Numbers

Your child will also begin to write numbers in kindergarten if you haven't taught that earlier, and of course she will continue to read and write numbers throughout life. When learning the written formation of the numbers 0-9, she will learn to form a number by tracing, then copying the number. Eventually, she will begin to write them on her own.

When teaching your child to read and write double-digit numbers, you will need to rely somewhat on his counting skills through 13. He can learn to recognize the written numerals from 10-19 just as he did 0-9. After that, the numbers become more logical. When the number in the tens column (you will be teaching him that about the same time) is a 'one,' he will first say the number in the units column (4-9) and add '-teen' to the end. To write these numbers, he will put a 'one' in the tens column and the other numeral in the units column.

Your child will then need to learn that '20' indicates that there is a 'two' in the tens column. She will first say the 'twenty' and then add the units number. This process is repeated for 30-90. Except for the place column, teaching the hundreds is similar, except she begins with the number in hundreds place, and then adds the following columns.

Calculating Numbers

There are several ways of looking at calculating numbers. Your child might think of methods being mental math, using paper and pencil, an abacus or a calculator. Another child might think addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, decimals and so on. All of these are accurate and students will face - and learn - most of them before leaving elementary school.

For example, to teach your child addition, use a small pile of buttons or dried beans. Give an addition problem for adding two single-digit numbers, such as 5 + 9. Make a group of five beans and a group of nine beans and count each one. Point out that if you were to add the two groups together, you would be making one group of them. Push the two groups together, and count the beans. Then write the problem with its answer, 5 + 9 = 14.

Repeat the process with different numbers until your child fully understands what he is doing and why. Then see if he can do some problems without beans, and begin teaching the addition table.

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