Numbers surround us every day of our lives. Young children encounter numbers in play, in nursery rhymes and as a recurring theme in conversations, e.g. “How old are you?” Yet counting with understanding is far more complex than learning a telephone number or the alphabet. The process of counting develops from initial attempts to string together a sequence of number words. Counting then requires children to develop one-to-one number correspondence, where they say one word for each item counted. Understanding the principles of counting is not an easy undertaking but a necessary one to help children learn to count in increasingly sophisticated ways to solve addition, subtraction, multiplication and division problems.

Developing a powerful and flexible understanding of how numbers are used, what they mean and how we represent them, is one of the goals of early mathematics learning. Developing Efficient Numeracy Strategies One provides teachers with a resource for programming learning activities to achieve this goal.

Many of the learning activities outlined in this resource were developed and trialled in the early numeracy project, Count Me In Too. This project used a learning framework in number, initially developed by Professor Bob Wright, to support observations of children’s strategies for solving arithmetical problems. Since that initial project and publication, our understanding of learning and teaching in mathematics has continued to grow, and as such, this resource has undergone evaluation, analysis, updates and changes.

All of the learning activities have been designed to build upon students’ current methods of solving arithmetical problems and aims to support and encourage students in using increasingly efficient strategies when solving arithmetical problems.

Developing Efficient Numeracy Strategies One is organised into sections that reflect the development from emergent understandings of number through to efficient use of counting-on-and-back strategies. Within each section the learning activities have been arranged to answer the fundamental questions of teaching mathematics:

What do my students currently know and what can they do with that knowledge?
What do my students need to learn and be able to do next?

How will I help them to learn this?
How will I know when they’ve got it? 

Syllabus reference

Mathematics K-10 Syllabus © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2012.