Math Background

Number Concepts: When Students Ask

  • Why do I need to know how to write numbers?
    Since writing numbers requires proficiency with fine motor skills, some children will experience frustration as they begin to write. This may spark the question, Why do I have to do this? Discuss the importance of knowing how to write your telephone number and address. As children become more proficient in writing, it may help to have them write these numbers as well as other numbers, such as dates.
  • Why do I need to know how to estimate?
    Again, look for examples in real life that use estimation. Point out that sometimes we do not need to know exact numbers. Ask questions such as, Do we need to know exactly how many crackers are in this box? Can we tell by looking that there will be enough crackers for all of us to share? Through examples, help children to realize that estimates are often easier to use.
  • Why are ordinal numbers different?
    Talk about the meaning of the word order and relate it to the word ordinal. Explain that the ordinal numbers tell the order. Point out the difference between the numbers that tell how many and those that tell in which order. Ask children to give examples of each type of number.

Houghton Mifflin Math Grade K