We are continuing our over-arching theme of “number sense” in math. This refers to a person's "fluidity and flexibility with numbers," (Gersten & Chard, 2001). A child with number sense knows what numbers mean and understands their relationship to one another. Much of number sense at this level is recognizing that the value of a digit depends on where it is placed in a number (that a 9 in the 10s place means 90, and in the 10,000s place means 90,000, for example).
For “homework” yesterday, I told my math group that they needed go home and find someone to play the following game. All you need is a piece of paper, a pencil, and a die.
The mathematical objective is fluent reading, writing, and comparison of multi-digit numbers. If you play “high number”, the goal is to make the largest number possible. “Low number” means you will try to make the lowest number possible.
1. Divide your sheet of paper into sections. We played with just 4 sections, and labeled our papers with thousands, hundreds, tens, and ones.
2. Players take turns rolling the die.
3. Players write the number that appears on the die in one of their four sections. Once a number is written down it cannot be changed.
4. After four rolls (or more, depending on what size numbers you are dealing with), compare numbers. Who made the highest number? Was this the largest number possible, given the rolls? If not, what IS the largest number?
5. Be sure to read the number to each other - we will continue to practice reading bigger and bigger numbers as the year goes on.