Comparing the Appearance of Numerals

Area: Numeracy
Skill: Recognizing and Writing Numerals
Key Targeted Strategies:
  • Provide multiple representations of numbers together
  • Discuss numeral appearance
Foundational Strategies:
  • Asking children open-ended questions that elicit their solution-methods
  • Modeling and using math language

What to Look for in This Clip:

Encouraging students to figure out how and why certain numerals look different, is a great way to help studnets strengthen their mental image of a number.

During a number matching game, the teacher pauses the game briefly to help students recognize and distinguish the numbers seven and three. She starts by asking an open-ended question, "Why do these two numbers, seven and three, why do they not match?" To help students recognize how they are two different numerals, she also provides multiple representations of each number - the verbal number word, as well as the written numeral.

When students respond with different observations, the teacher uses another targeted strategy, discussing the numerals' appearance. She asks, "Does this one have two straight lines? Does this one have straight lines?" After the students have differentiated that the seven has straight lines and the three doesn't, she encourages students to describe the numeral three using math language. She prompts, "It has two what?" This encourages the studnets to answer, "curved." The teacher then confirms, "curved lines, so you know that they're not the same."

At the end of the video, we see one student display her ability to recognize two numerals that do match, "four and four match. This is four and four." The teacher confirms the student's observation and adds additional math language by commenting, "That's right and they have the same lines, right?"

Together, all of these targeted and foundational strategies help students begin to recognize the appearance of different numbers, which will support their ability to identify them, as well as write them, in the future.