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Developing number sense

Quantifying numbers, using additive and multiplicative strategies

Home » Numeracy Focus Areas » Developing number sense

General overview

This focus involves learners quantifying numbers, making sensible estimates and using additive and multiplicative strategies in manipulating numbers.

In the early years, developing number sense includes recognising, reading and interpreting numbers; sharing, counting on and trusting the count with whole numbers; and understanding such concepts as more, less, least and most.

Learners move to understanding the language and numerical significance of place value through encountering numbers in a variety of real-life contexts, such as money and naturally occurring big and small numbers in populations and media reports.

At upper levels, students use a variety of ways to represent and manipulate large and small numbers, including scientific notation.

Learners move from additive to multiplicative thinking, working flexibly with the concepts, strategies and representations of multiplication (and division) in a wide range of contexts.

Learners model and solve numerical problems using a variety of mental, written and digital strategies that become increasingly efficient as they move through the levels.

A critical element of developing number sense is that learners make predictions about, and evaluate the reasonableness of, their answers by estimating the likely size and nature of their expected result.

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