Inside a kindergarten classroom with Augustana students

Discovering meaning behind teen numbers!

Today we made a new attempt to discover some misconceptions that the students have about the teen numbers. To begin, we had the students use number cards to identify the number words. The students were able to quickly recognize the numbers 12-19, so we decided to ask the students to elaborate on how they know which number is which and how they “see the number”. Many of the students responded, “12 is 1 and 2”. Although this answer made sene visually to the students as a way to remember the number, we realized that this is not an accurate understanding of the number itself. I primed the students to continue their metacognition in order to realize their own misconception. I reiterated the students’ response, “so 12 is 1 and 2 right”, and simultaneously held up 1 finger on one hand and 2 fingers on the other. I asked the students, “so if 12 is 1 and 2, how many fingers are we holding up?”. The students responded 3 with a confused expression on their face. We asked them why we would hold up three fingers to represent 12. The students seemed stumped which is the type of intrigued confusion we were looking for. To develop the students’ understanding of the teen numbers, we told them we were playing a game in which they had to build towers to show the teen numbers, but the towers could only be 10 blocks tall. The students then proceeded to practice making towers of 10 and a few more loose cubes to represent each of the teen numbers. The students then compared the tower of 10 blocks to the first number “1” in each of the teen numbers. Their faces seemed to lighten as they began to discover that the initial “1” in the number is not really a one, but a “ten”. We will definitely need to further support this idea with the students through excersices which elaborate with the idea of a ten and ones group, but it was great to see the students begin to realize and adjust their own assumptions.

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