Counting is basic in teaching and learning mathematics. Children therefore need to start learning this principle at an early age. In the year 2008, the National mathematics advisory board advised schools on various ways of improving children’s learning skills of mathematics. One of the recommendations was the use of physical and social worlds to enhance children’s natural interest in mathematics. This calls for integration of supplementary activities in mathematics. Real Counting On, is a math game that offers an avenue for learners to interact with both the physical and social worlds. Real counting demonstrates how mathematics can incorporate other activities in its learning. This paper looks at how teachers can use the Real Counting On game to determine whether the children have understood counting or they are still in the transitional age.
Before the children master counting, they need to know and internalize the cardinality of the set. Problems of counting in children may have its basis on lack of understanding of the cardinality of the set (Van de Walle et al, 2010). Therefore during the Real Counting On activity, the teacher can ascertain whether or not children have understood and internalized the cardinality test and counting as well.
The first thing for the teacher to do to ascertain children’s understanding on counting is to watch and listen when children are counting. The first activity is to turn over different cards. Each child is then given an opportunity to count the counters loudly. Children who understand counting will not have problems in counting the counters. However, children in the transitional age may have problems in the counting of the counters (Van de Walle et al, 2010).
Secondly, during the Real Counting On activities, the teacher should ask questions. The teacher then listens keenly to ascertain children’s understanding on counting. This is to establish children’s mastery of cardinality of a test (Van de Walle et al, 2010). The teacher can ask questions like, “how many counters are in the cup?” The children’s answer may be: “There are five counters in the cup.” When the children reply correctly, the teacher should seek assurance from them. “Are they really five?” the teacher should ask. The teacher should then observe keenly the reaction of each child.
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It should be noted that the children who have mastered the art of counting are confident in answering the question. They insist that the counters are indeed five. The teacher should continue the conversation and ask, “How can you prove that they are five.” The children who have mastered the counting technique will insist that it is because they counted the cards. On the other hand the children in the transition stage seem not to be certain of the number of the counters in the cup. The later may demonstrates lack of understanding of counting. Moreover, it clearly shows lack of mastery of cardinality of a test. Understanding the cardinality of a test is important because it is a prerequisite to counting on (Van de Walle et al, 2010).
The ultimate mark of the Real Counting On math game is determining the total amount of the counters during the game. Coming to this ultimate goal takes a process. The first player in the game should turn over the top number card. He then places the indicated counters in the cup. He finally puts the card next to the cup to remind them how many are inside there. The second player rolls the die. He then puts the indicated number of counters next to the cup. Both of them determine the total numbers of counters in that particular game. The children who are on the transitional stage will want to either dump the counters from the cup or count from their colleague who is not dumping out the counters. Those who have mastered counting will count on (Van de Walle et al, 2010).a
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