The 10-Minute Routine that Skyrockets Number Sense

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The 10 Minute Routine that SKYROCKETS Number SenseI’ll always remember my first day of scholar instructing when my host trainer put a 2-digit by 2-digit division drawback on the board and requested the kids to mentally remedy it.

I’m unsure what her level is right here as a result of I’m certain they’ll all be stumped.

After a few minutes of silent “think time” she calls on somebody they usually have a quantity.  A few different kids have the identical quantity.  A knot is forming in my abdomen.

How has a category of interior metropolis fifth graders mentally solved a division drawback that I would wish a calculator or at the very least pencil and paper to remedy?  

I sat in awe and soaked up the methods college students provided. They had multiple manner to remedy the issue they usually have been correct.  It grew to become apparent that someplace alongside the road, I had missed some child of necessary math boat and I’d be fervently working to climb aboard over the following few weeks.

This trainer had regularly constructed up her college students’ quantity sense day-after-day with a brief routine referred to as a quantity speak.  Over the years I’ve discovered quantity talks to be a fast and efficient approach for constructing quantity sense in each youthful and older elementary college students.

The Steps of a Number Talk

  1.  The trainer presents an issue – Can be proven with dot playing cards, unifix cubes, ten frames, as a phrase drawback, or as an equation.
  2. Students silently discover the reply – When they’ve the reply, they sign with a “thumbs up” of their lap.  This lets the trainer know they’re prepared with out distracting different college students who’re nonetheless pondering.
  3. Students share solutions – The trainer calls on Three to 5 college students to share simply their reply and information the solutions on the board.  Even if an incorrect reply is given, file it.
  4. Students share their pondering – If you’ve got time, have college students share their technique with a neighbor first so everybody will get an opportunity to share their pondering.  Then have Three-Four college students share their pondering with the category and file their pondering with footage, symbols, and phrases.
  5. The class agrees on the true reply – The solutions given in step Three are seen as conjectures.  If incorrect solutions got, assist college students see the place they went flawed or what step was omitted.  This step is about affirmation and readability reasonably than about testing who is true or flawed.  This is a good alternative to construct a classroom tradition the place errors are seen as studying alternatives reasonably than one thing to ridicule.
  6. The steps are repeated for different issues – This routine ought to solely take 5 – 15 minutes so hold that in thoughts when you’re deciding whether or not or not to go on to different issues.

Watch a Number Talk in Action:

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Notice how this trainer begins with a straightforward drawback, one thing everybody can remedy.  Then she makes use of that drawback as a scaffold to assist kids remedy one thing a little bit tougher.  Also discover the hand alerts she has taught her class to present that they’ve solved the issue, have multiple technique, or that they agree with the answer simply given.

If you search “number talk” on YouTube you could find a number of nice movies throughout a variety of grades and subjects.  Many of them differ barely from the steps given above however all of them deal with constructing quantity sense.

Number Talk Examples

Doubles +1 Number Talk, a strategy for building number sense in just 10 minutes a day First and second graders study strategies for fixing single digit math information.  Here’s a quantity speak that might facilitate the method.  Present the scholars with a doubles truth that they already know.  They ought to rapidly get the reply.  Then immediate them by saying, “Use what you know about 4+4 to help you solve this next problem.”  Present them with the issue Four+5.  Hopefully they are going to see that Four+5 is only one greater than Four+Four so the reply has to be only one extra as nicely.  Name the technique, “You just used a double you knew and added one more, that’s called doubles plus 1.”  Then see if they’ll use the technique once more with a brand new drawback.  Put up 6+7.  Prompt them.  “See if the doubles +1 technique might help you with this drawback.  Students may have to do related quantity talks a number of instances to get comfy with utilizing the technique.




2-Digit Addition Number Talk, a strategy for building number sense in just 10 minutes a dayHere’s a quantity speak for college students who’re starting to construct fluency with including and subtracting 2-digit numbers.  The first drawback is designed to be straightforward for college students.  Now, immediate them to examine the primary drawback to the second, “See if the primary drawback might help you remedy this second drawback.”  Students will in all probability see that 29 is only one lower than 30.  So their reply ought to be one lower than the primary drawback.  Allow college students to share their pondering but in addition summarize the technique for them: “So if we have a number that’s really close to a friendly number, we could solve the problem with the friendly number and then add or subtract a little to get the actual answer.”  Give them the third drawback and say, “See if using a friendly number can help you solve this problem.”




Multiplication Number Talk, a strategy for building number sense in just 10 minutes a dayNumber sense includes understanding that quantity might be taken aside.  In this instance, college students are being led to the thought of decomposing numbers to assist with multiplication.  The first two issues function a scaffold and ought to be straightforward.  Prompt your college students to see if the primary two issues might help them with the following drawback.  Hopefully somebody will see that 13 might be damaged aside into 10 and three.  Then it’s simpler to remedy 10×7 and three×7, and add the 2 elements collectively to get a closing reply.  The final drawback challenges them to apply this decomposition technique once more.  It is simpler to break aside the 15 into 10 and 5.  Then they’ll remedy 10×5 and 5×5, and put the 2 solutions collectively.


Give quantity talks a attempt in your classroom!

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Math Perspectives (2007). Number Talks. Retrieved from

Awesome cat clip artwork is from Ninja Woman Studios.

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Hannah Braun

Hannah Braun
Hannah Braun is a former trainer with eight years of expertise within the classroom and a grasp’s diploma in early childhood training. She designs partaking, organized classroom resources for 1st-Third grade lecturers.

Author: Hannah Braun

Hannah Braun is a former trainer with eight years of expertise within the classroom and a grasp’s diploma in early childhood training. She designs partaking, organized classroom resources for 1st-Third grade lecturers.