Parent Mathing Tip #5: Breaking Down Numbers

Oct 16, 2023

About “Mathing” Tips: These tips give parents ideas for math exercises that will develop their child’s math abilities. Just as you should read with your child, you should “math” with them as well, using natural language that makes sense to a child. Doing math with your child is a great way to interact with them and help them learn about our world.

Today’s parent tip for “mathing” with your child focuses on breaking down numbers. Counting on fingers is usually done because the child has not yet demonstrated strategies for counting other than counting by ones. Adding “8 + 6” or “12 + 9” takes a long time when counting by ones. If your child learns to break large numbers down into smaller numbers, the process can become easier. For example, “8 + 6” can be seen as

“8 + 2” (numbers that make ten) + 4
= “10” + 4
= 14.

Also, “12 + 9” can become “9 + 1” (numbers that make ten) + 11. Or it could become “12 + 8 + 1”. Breaking it down either way will be equal to 21.

Download the activity here to practice breaking down numbers with your child.

Follow our Number Sense Blog for more math activities or visit a Mathnasium Center nearest you.

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