# Subitizing

**Strand:** Number

**Outcome:** 2

## Step 3: Plan for Instruction

### Guiding Questions

- What learning opportunities and experiences should I provide to promote learning of the outcomes and permit students to demonstrate their learning?
- What teaching strategies and resources should I use?
- How will I meet the diverse learning needs of my students?

### A. Assessing Prior Knowledge and Skills

Before introducing new material, consider ways to assess and build on students' knowledge and skills related to number. For example:

- Ask students, "How many fingers am I holding up?" and check to see if they are counting or recognizing the number at a glance.
- If they are shown two sets of objects, can they tell you which set has the largest number of objects and/or which set has the smallest number of objects?
- Ask students how many coins are in a collection. If students correctly count and say "five," ask, "Are there five coins?" If a student hesitates and counts again, question whether or not the student has developed cardinality, which is the ability to know that the last count word is the number of items in the set. A student needs cardinality to subitize.
- There are nine boys in the class. Ask students, "How many pencils will I need so that each boy can have one?" If they answer "nine," you know that they have an understanding of one-to-one correspondence. This helps you determine whether or not they understand that number represents quantity.

If a student appears to have difficulty with these tasks, consider further individual assessment, such as a structured interview, to determine the student's level of skill and understanding.

Sample Structured Interview: Assessing Prior Knowledge and Skills

### B. Choosing Instructional Strategies

Consider the following strategies when planning lessons.

- Wherever possible, the number activities should involve some physical materials.
- Students should communicate numbers in various ways.
- Provide opportunities for students to represent numbers in many different ways.
- Encourage students to display numbers whenever possible, either with manipulatives or by enacting the number physically; e.g., showing fingers, clapping.
- To motivate students, use familiar objects whenever possible.
- Expect students to explain, verbally, how they know how many are in a set.

### C. Choosing Learning Activities

Learning Activities are examples of activities that could be used to develop student understanding of the concepts identified in Step 1.