How To Help Your Child With Place Value and Counting
Knowing how to “count on” in maths is a fundamental skill. This skill is also used when children are working out the next number in a sequence and place value. Counting is easier when the numbers are written on a number line so start with a number line if you are doing this for the first time with your child. You can purchase number lines and 100 squares from most good school supplies shops. Alternatively write out a number line for your child. Just as important as seeing the numbers is hearing the numbers, so children need to say the numbers as they use them. In particular this helps children when tackling bigger numbers and fractions. If your child is old enough then you can also get them to write out the number in words.
Counting in Ones
Age 4-5 – choose a number between 10 and 20. Ask your child to count on from that number. For example if your child chooses 12, then ask them to count on another 2 numbers.
12, 13, What are then next 2 numbers?
16, 15, What are the next 2 numbers?
If your child cannot remember the next number, then allow them to use a number line or to write out the numbers.
Age 5-6 –choose a number between 20 and 99. Repeat as above. The difficult numbers to count on from are 29, 39, 49, 59, etc
28, 29, What are the next 2 numbers?
58, 59, what are the next 2 numbers?
31, 30, what are the next 2 numbers?
Age 7-8 – choose a number between 100 and 999. Repeat as above. The difficult numbers to count on from are 109, 119, etc and 199, 299, 399 etc.
108, 109 what are the next 2 numbers?
398, 399, what are the next 2 numbers?
998, 999, what are the next 2 numbers?
401, 400, what are the next 2 numbers?
Age 9-10 – choose a number between 1000 and 9000.
Age 10-11 – choose any number between 10,000 and 1,000,000
Counting in Multiples
Counting on in multiples of 2 for example can re-enforce times tables and odd and even numbers. Ask your child to count forward and backward in 2’s from any random number (must be age and ability appropriate so refer to previous paragraph).
Try counting forward and backwards in multiples of 5, 10, 100 and 1000.
Counting in Fractions
Counting can help to address the gap in understanding fractions as numbers in their own right.
Use fractions as a natural part of your vocabulary. For example you could ask your child to give you 2 halves of an apple.
Cut an apple (or similar) real or drawn into quarters. Ask your child how many quarters are in the apple. Count the pieces one quarter, two quarters, three quarters, four quarters and ask your child to write down the fractions. 1/4, 2/4, 3/4, 4/ 4 . Cut a second apple and ask your child to keep counting the quarters 5/4, 6/4, 7/4, 8/4 and to continue to write the list of fractions.
Ask them what is another name for 4 quarters? (1)
what is another name for 8 quarters?(2)
what is another name for 6 quarters ?(1 2/4 or 1 1/2)
Encourage them to use the apples or drawings to find the answer.
Help your child to draw circles (two or three) on paper and mark them in thirds.
Ask them to count in thirds and to write the sequence.
Ask them what is another name for 3 thirds? (1)
what is another name for 6 thirds?(2)
what is another name for 5 thirds? (1 2/3)
First teach your child that:
2 halves = 2/2 = 1 whole
3 thirds = 3/3 = 1 whole
4 quarters = 4/4 = 1 whole
5 fifths = 5/5 = 1 whole
Then we move onto counting.
½, 2/2, 3/2, 4/2,
This says 1 half, 2 halves, 3 halves, four halves.
½, 1, 1½, 2,
Half, 1, one and a half, two.
Once your child can count backwards and forwards in halves then try other fractions.
Visualisation is essential so encourage the use of real things to chop up into fractions and drawings.