Using concrete materials to help students learn ascending order
Updated: Aug 3, 2020
Teaching children to recognise numbers and order them sequentially can be tricky.
They need to first recognise the number as a symbol, understand cardinality (the last number said tells you how many there are) and the order in which numbers are arranged when counting (ascending order).
Unlike teaching one-to-one correspondence and cardinality, ascending order shows children there is an order to numbers to help us determine what comes next.
As with all teaching materials, it's imperative that young children work with concrete (hands-on) materials they can touch and arrange. This is where traditional cut-and-paste or moveable objects work best.
You can use plastic cups and write numbers on each cup, then ask the child to sequence or arrange rocks/pebbles in a row. However, one important part of the puzzle with children is problem-solving. Rather than just arranging objects children love to solve a problem with real-world situations or scenarios that are familiar to them such as stories or fairytales.
Help Red Riding Hood to find her way to Grandma's house, help Sam to school and similar stories help students understand the purpose of placing one number in front of another, to reach a goal.
So rather than just teaching the last number said tells you how many, you can also teach children that the number sequencing needs to be logical and go in a particular order to reach a goal.
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