Big Numbers - Estimation and Numicon

At a recent maths workshop, the presenter, Ann Baker of Natural Maths, made the point that there are three concepts children in the early years need help to consolidate - subitising, numerosity and magnitude. Many of my students can count above 20. Several more can count to 100. A couple of children can count past 100 but can they actually count out 100 objects accurately? Introducing an estimation jar can be a fun way to begin looking at bigger numbers and strategies for counting accurately. With that in mind, I have introduced one to our classroom.


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Estimation + Numicon - introduce an estimation jar to the classroom to improve numerosity in the early years and use Numicon to help support early number sense | you clever monkey

Each morning the children estimate how many objects are in the jar as part of their morning routine and together we count them during our Maths lesson to see who's guess is the closest. I try to change the objects everyday and the children have certainly been excited to find out what is in the jar each day. 

Before we start counting, we discuss how best to count the objects. 

'They are big objects in the jar today, we could count by 2s.' 
'There are lots of small objects, we could count by 5s or 10s, our friendly number if we put them in groups first.'

Estimation + Numicon - introduce an estimation jar to the classroom to improve numerosity in the early years and use Numicon to help support early number sense | you clever monkey

We've also been using a number of different tools to help us count correctly. I bought a starter set of Numicon earlier in the year and they have quickly become my favourite math tool for working with number. 
You can see how we've used them to support the concept of 10 being a friendly number to count by.

Estimation + Numicon - introduce an estimation jar to the classroom to improve numerosity in the early years and use Numicon to help support early number sense | you clever monkey

Estimation + Numicon - introduce an estimation jar to the classroom to improve numerosity in the early years and use Numicon to help support early number sense | you clever monkey

Our Numicon set has been used for looking at number bonds, making simple patterns, building number lines and introducing odd and even numbers. We've labelled clocks with them, matched them with numerals and made symmetrical pictures with them. I love the visual support they provide young learners and have already added to our first set.

Estimation + Numicon - introduce an estimation jar to the classroom to improve numerosity in the early years and use Numicon to help support early number sense | you clever monkey




Estimation + Numicon - introduce an estimation jar to the classroom to improve numerosity in the early years and use Numicon to help support early number sense | you clever monkey

Estimation + Numicon - introduce an estimation jar to the classroom to improve numerosity in the early years and use Numicon to help support early number sense | you clever monkey

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4 comments

  1. I'd never thought about this to be honest. Love the guessing game, such a fun way to work out strategies together.

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    Replies
    1. Many children I have worked with Kelly can count out loud but when it comes to using their knowledge of numbers to count objects 1:1, not all of them can count as accurately. Using an estimation station just makes all the practice we have to do more fun :)

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  2. you always come up with the best hands on learning ideas!

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  3. This was an excellent explanation and activity idea, love it.

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