Expected level of development
Australian Curriculum Mathematics V9: AC9MFN02, AC9MFN04
Numeracy Progression: Number and place value: P2, Counting processes: P2
At this level, students establish foundational ideas and skills in number. There is a focus on subitising – instantly recognising and naming the number of objects in small collections of up to 5 (without counting). Over time, students build part-part-whole understanding and develop the confidence to recognise and describe the numbers to 10 in different ways.
Use subitising cards and card games, such as memory and matching games, to build perceptual subitising skills (for example, instant recognition of numbers to 6).
Use classroom talks to help students see that these subitising skills can be used when describing larger numbers to 10 in terms of their parts. Deepen part-part-whole understanding of numbers to 10 through playful lessons and activities where students interact with different number representations across contexts.
Provide regular opportunities to interact with and describe numbers to 10. Make explicit the usefulness of tools and structures such as fingers, dice and domino patterns, five frames and tens frames. Include a focus on the different tools and methods different cultures use to quantify and represent numbers to 10.
Teaching and learning summary:
- Explore numbers to 10 through play-based experiences, stories and classroom talks.
- Use classroom talks for students to apply subitising numbers to 4 and part-part-whole knowledge of numbers to 10 in everyday situations.
- recognise small quantities below 5 by subitising
- use subitising to compare and order small collections
- understand the part-part-whole nature of numbers and how they relate to each other
- use number structures (such as dice, dominoes and tens frames) to help recognise and name the parts in a collection
- understand that ‘zero’ describes ‘nothing’.
Some students may:
- be unable to conserve number, for instance, they are unable to see that two sets of the same number of counters are the same if they are arranged differently (for example, one group of 6 and one row of 6 – the row is longer so they see it as having more). To help address this, provide repeated opportunities to count small collections.
- be unable to recognise a small number of objects (3, 4 or 5) without counting to confirm. To help address this, count small collections to establish the number naming sequence, regularly use subitising cards to encourage recognition of small numbers without counting, and practise reading numbers represented on dice and dominoes.
- only be able to count items that they can see and cannot conceptualise hidden items (for example, 4 counters in a box). To help address this, model counting on from different starting numbers using clapping. Use a money-box type container with a slit in the top. Ask students to count the counters as they are being dropped in the container. After all the counters have been dropped in, ask students to say how many there are and then encourage them to check.
The Learning from home activities are designed to be used flexibly by teachers, parents and carers, as well as the students themselves. They can be used in a number of ways including to consolidate and extend learning done at school or for home schooling.
- We are learning to recognise and use numbers, first up to 5, then to 10.
Why are we learning about this?
- We use numbers and counting in everyday contexts.
What to do
1. Notice ‘how many’ every day. For example:
- When reading a picture storybook, notice how many dogs there are.
- When having a meal, work out if there’s enough cutlery.
- When tidying up at home, notice ‘how many’ are in a collection.
- When playing, notice ‘how many’, for example, ‘how many blocks were used to make this castle?’
2. Play games. For example:
- Play ‘I Spy’ or other games to practise recognising numbers, for example, ‘I spy with my little eye, 2 of something’.
- When playing games involving dice or dominoes, see which numbers you can recognise (without counting) on the dice or dominoes.
3. Talk about numbers. For example:
- Look at the 5-pattern on a dice and describe the different ways that 5 is made. Person 1: ‘It has 4 dots making a square and 1 more in the middle to make 5.’ Person 2: ‘Oh yeah. It’s also 2 dots at the top, 2 at the bottom and 1 in the middle.’
- name quantities under 5 without counting, for example, I can instantly see that there are 3 trees without needing to count them one by one
- describe numbers to 10 in terms of their parts, for example, I know that 5 is made up of 3 and 2, and that it can also be made of 4 and 1
- describe how numbers to 10 relate to other numbers, for example, I know that 5 is 1 more than 4, and also that it is 1 less than 6.
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A collection of evidence-based teaching strategies applicable to this topic. Note we have not included an exhaustive list and acknowledge that some strategies such as differentiation apply to all topics. The selected teaching strategies are suggested as particularly relevant, however you may decide to include other strategies as well.
Concrete, Representational, Abstract (CRA model)
The CRA model is a three-phased approach where students move from concrete or virtual manipulatives, to making visual representations and on to using symbolic notation.Go to resource
Culturally responsive pedagogy
Mathematics is not an exclusive western construct. Therefore, it is important to acknowledge and demonstrate the mathematics to be found in all cultures.Go to resource
A culture of questioning should be encouraged and students should be comfortable to ask for clarification when they do not understand.Go to resource
Providing students with multiple opportunities within different contexts to practise skills and apply concepts allows them to consolidate and deepen their understanding.Go to resource
Classroom talks enable students to develop language, build mathematical thinking skills and create mathematical meaning through collaborative conversations.Go to resource
A range of resources to support you to build your student's understanding of these concepts, their skills and procedures. The resources incorporate a variety of teaching strategies.
It’s Me 1 2 3
Use these play-based activities to explore, identify and compare representations of 1, 2 and 3.Go to resource
Use picture storybooks regularly to practise counting and develop ‘part-part-whole’ understanding.Go to resource
Alive in 5!
Use various activities to introduce zero and develop a mental object of numbers to five.Go to resource
Spot the number
Use these language-based activities to practise subitising and rearranging small collections.Go to resource
Growing 6, 7 and 8
Explore the numbers 6, 7 and 8, thinking about them in terms of their parts.Go to resource
Building 9 and 10
Extend investigations to numbers 9 and 10, exploring them in terms of their parts.Go to resource
10 or bust
Use this playful game to explore numbers to 10 using physical materials and structures.Go to resource
Use this video to count small collections and name the number that is ‘one less than’ another number.Go to resource
resolve: Number: one is a snail
Explore place value using numbers to 20 and beyond, representing numbers in different ways.Go to resource
Use as a novel context for working collaboratively when connecting different representations of numbers under 10.Go to resource
By the end of Foundation, students use subitising and counting strategies to quantify collections to count collections. They can compare the size of small collections as well as recognise and describe small collections up to 10 in different ways, in terms of their parts.