Early Math  /   The Basics

The Basics

What Is Subitizing?

Subitizing is looking at a group of objects and instantly seeing how many there are. Subitizing happens quickly, it's knowing "how many" without having to count. It's also understanding that the type, shape, size, and positioning of the objects you are looking at does not matter, you can have five ducks or five beads, it's still five.

Why Is Subitizing Important?

Subitizing is key to developing overall number sense. Number sense allows children to understand concepts, ideas, and problems concerning numbers. It is the beginning of children's understanding of key mathematical ideas and a precursor for addition and subtraction and arithmetic. For example, children learn that 2 dots + 2 dots equals 4 dots. In later grades, this helps children to count larger numbers: count by twos or tens or hundreds. Subitizing also helps children to eventually be able to perform mathematical operations in their heads. This is called mental math.

In preschool classrooms, the goal is for children to develop an understanding of whole numbers and the concept of quantity, which includes:

Subitizing activities will help children master these concepts, and children will increase their ability to subitize as they develop each of the skills mentioned above.

What Is Equipartitioning?

Equipartitioning is also often known as "fair sharing" or "equal sharing." There are several types of equipartitioning:

Why Is Equipartitioning Important?

The ability to equipartition or "equally share" builds children's foundational understanding of fractions, ratios, division, and multiplication. It develops children's number sense and helps them understand parts of a whole and the ways in which larger numbers are composed of smaller numbers. For instance, when a child divides a pile of eight rocks between two friends, she sees that eight is made up of four and four.

In preschool classrooms, the goal is for children to develop this foundation by:

Equipartitioning activities will help children master these concepts, and children will increase their ability to equipartition as they develop each of the skills mentioned above.