I have taught math from grade 5 to grade 12, and noticed that some students are really missing the base - number sense. Unfortunately, as the math becomes harder, they are simply lost and rely on their calculator (which, unfortunately, isn't always accurate due to human error). I wanted to nip this in the butt and get my students to understand numbers.
Well, I found this little trick last year that was absolutely wonderful and really helped students grasp numbers and their meaning. It's Number of the Day. Very easy to implement, and once it's in your routine (I used to do it every day after morning recess), it becomes habit!
The concept of Number of the Day is simple. You have a number, and you manipulate it in different ways. You write it out in letters, you write it in expanded form, you perform various operations, you use it in a word problem, etc. The possibilities are endless! The younger they are, the simpler the manipulations are (drawing, writing) but this can easily be done with grades 7 and 8 students as well (factor tree, exponents).
This is an example from one of my students (I re-wrote it). I simply photocopy the sheet so one page does 4 days. I tend to start with easier numbers at the beginning of the year and increase the level of difficulty as they start mastering one and two-digit numbers. I also have a few versions of the number of the day so they start working on new skills (especially depending on what we have been learning in class!)
It doesn't take very long, and at first, students can be a little loss, but this makes teaching any math concept soooooo much easier! Students start seeing that dividing by 10 and multiplying by 0.1 is exactly the same thing! They start working with decimals right away and noticing what happens when you remove one tenth from a whole (which makes removing one hundredth that much easier).
I also let students work in pairs if they want to, allowing weaker students to not feel pressured to do it alone. The great thing is that once they start getting it, they start being able to do it by themselves quickly, and that's an amazing feeling!
Want your own copy? I have a sample of my Number of the Day right here for you! It'd be nice if you left some feedback as well!
Want more? I have 5 templates available as well!
What do you do you in your classroom to help your students with number sense? Would love to hear from you!
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