Early Math  /  Early Math Overview

Early Math Overview

Spatial Thinking

What is Spatial Thinking?

Spatial thinking is an essential aspect of math. It involves understanding where different objects are located in relation to each other, visualizing and mentally rotating objects, and using representational maps or diagrams to solve problems.

This early math curriculum focuses on four aspects of spatial thinking:

Why is Spatial Thinking Important?

Spatial thinking skills provide a unique approach to mathematical problem solving. Advanced spatial thinking skills promote school readiness, indicate later academic success, and increase the likelihood of learners pursuing careers related to mathematics, science, engineering, and/or technology.

Spatial thinking activities will help children expand their knowledge, skills, habits of mind, ability to use representation tools (like maps), and reasoning processes when solving math problems.

Data Collection and Analysis

What Is Data Collection and Analysis?

Data collection and analysis is the practice of applying mathematical knowledge (counting, sorting, classifying, comparing, contrasting) and processes to find the answer to research questions they are investigating. Children become natural data collectors as they learn about and make sense of the world around them. More systematic collection and analysis helps children understand how data can help answer specific questions.

Why Is Data Collection and Analysis Important?

Preliminary evidence suggests that engaging in data collection and analysis (DCA) builds mathematics knowledge, computational thinking, and may broaden inquiry skills over time. This is important because the mathematics skills that young children build during their preschool years predicts their later academic success in both math and literacy. Children will also become more critical thinkers and more systematic in how they can find the answer to questions they ask about the world around them.


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.