We have a responsibility to inspire a love for math and critical thinking at an early age, understanding that these are core skills that will help children become successful in all their ventures through life. The crucial element is to make sure we are assisting the children to develop those critical thinking skills, and most importantly, the confidence they need to have to achieve educational benchmarks in math and science.
Educators are aware of the benchmarks that children need to reach each age level, and these expectations are built into the curriculum provided within the classroom. But many parents may not understand how the levels of numeracy and math skills are built upward from age three to middle school.
We want to share the common skills and levels of comprehension that each child should accomplish at each level of math learning.
- Pre-School Aged Children (3 — 4 Years)
It all starts with counting fingers. At Knomadix, we are parents too, and we know that the early steps in fundamental numeracy training begin at an early age. This is where gamified math practice starts, as parents ask children ‘how old are you?’ and ask children to show them using their fingers.
This first practical application of numeracy skills kickstarts the whole learning process. Children at the pre-school level do not grasp the value of numbers, but they begin to understand by reciting numbers in order of increasing value. They learn to identify what numbers look like when written and what order numbers appear in escalating values; 1, 2, 3, etc.
Applied learning at the pre-school level also introduces size variables and volume. If they pour a large container of water into a smaller empty container, what happens? These exercises are an exploration into the earliest parts of understanding math, calculations, and measurement.
- Kindergarten Children (4-5 Years)
By the time children are ready to be enrolled in Kindergarten, they should be able to count to at least twenty (20) and be able to count things in groups or categories. Most educators recommend that Kindergarten students should be able to count up to one hundred (100) by both single digits and by factors of ten.
At this age, children become comfortable with recognizing the written form for each number (i.e., seven is ‘7’). The beginning fundamentals of adding something together (to make more) and subtracting from another unit (which results in less) are also applied at age 4-5 years in classroom settings.
- Grades One and Two
Pattern recognition is a leap forward for children as they enter grade one and two. Children are challenged to learn repetitive and random sequencing through visual patterns and asked to create their predictive patterns in exercises.
By grades one and two, students should be able to count to 100 by various denominations, including ones, twos, fives, and tens. They should be able to recognize and write each number from 1 to 20 and count independently and accurately to 100.
Grade two is when we start to see an emergence of essential addition and subtraction training into the curriculum, using small numbers. Students are also taught to relate numeracy to currency and understand the value of escalation in both numbers and currency units. Visual displays of math through bar graph ordering of data is also presented to children in grade two.
- Grade Three Students
Grade three represents a big leap for children, as they move from using their hands to express numeracy and calculations, to use paper and pencil to work out math problems effectively. Place values are taught, and children are introduced to decimal points in mathematics at this level.
Children in grade three also begin working on multiplication and division problems, including some memorization work that helps establish fact families and patterns in numeracy. For example, kids learn that 2 x 5 = 10 and that 5 x 2 also equals 10.
But the biggest step for children in grade three comes when children are required to understand the nature behind a numerical problem. They are required to create sentences with number values and equations, and they are also expected to derive solutions to math equations from a written word problem. This is where they start ‘telling stories’ and understanding the relationship between certain activities of daily living and vital mathematical skills.
- Grades Four and Five
The critical thinking regarding numeracy skills, cause and effect, and real-world applications takes another significant leap forward when children are in grade four or five. They begin to learn and visualize measurements (such as recipes) and fractional measurements. Two- and three-digit multiplication (goodbye single numbers!) are part of their problem-solving challenges.
Long division or working out division problems the traditional way, starts to happen in grade four and five. Children are also taught how to round numbers up (or down) and work with math to provide estimates based on predictable patterns in numeracy. Training in pre-algebra during grades four and five and helping them build confidence in solving equations is valuable preparation for middle school requirements.
- Middle School Students
In middle school, children either learn to love (or fear) formulaic math. Basic algebra is taught in middle school classrooms, and it requires a level of critical thinking that most children have not contributed before.
Middle school children will learn how to apply math skills for coordinates and mapping (and geolocation), working with graphs, percentages, and proportions. Calculations of angles and other geometry, critical thinking regarding algebraic formulas, solving for missing information by using predictive reasoning, and other skill areas are addressed.
Middle school is vital to the academic success of the child. Every foundational math skill for your child is built at this moment in their lives. Make sure that your children have a successful academic future by talking to their teachers about benchmark performance for their age level. It is one of the best things you can do (while providing additional support) to make sure your child stays on a positive path to STEM and other opportunities.
Our team of educational software solution developers created Number+Sense, new fun and engaging way to learn math. The Number+Sense app is a different approach to practicing the core fundamentals of critical thinking, creative problem solution, and math applications using a gamified platform.
Children that use Number+Sense benefit from artificial intelligence software that customizes their learning experience. The app addresses the child by name within the game. It provides a variety of different motivational and supports that inspire kids to regularly approve their math problem-solving in the areas of pre-algebra, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
In the classroom, Number+Sense is already being used by schools that want to improve their focus on STEM learning. In break out sessions, teachers can provide enriched learning that is creative and collaborative on tablets. Each student has a unique profile, and parents and teachers can review the in-depth analytics that helps identify strengths and areas that need additional help and focus.
Number+Sense is available on Google Play and the Apple AppStore now, and it is free to download and explore the first levels of achievement within the app. If you would like more information on purchasing the full version, or you would like to schedule a virtual demonstration of how Number+Sense works with our educational development team, contact us to learn more.