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Number Sense

Number sense is a good intuition about numbers and their relationships. It is all about understanding how our numbers work and how the parts and wholes come together. 

We need to have 4 relationships to develop a sense of numbers.

1) Spatial Relationship: It is defined as having a visual to go with a numeral and relate both of them. 

Spatial Relationship

Here, we see that 3 dots represent three and 4 dots represent four.

2) One/Two more and less: Here we need to instantly know the amount that is one or two more or less.

Number Sense

From the figure we can see that adding one to four will give us five and subtracting one will give us three. 

3) Part-part-whole: We need to understand how a whole can be broken into parts and vice versa. 

For example, we can break the number 7 as follows:


We also need to know when to break seven into 1 and 6 versus a 2 and 5. What is the point of being able to break that apart?

4) Benchmarks of five and ten: We need to know how a number relates to 5 and 10. The best way to do that is by visual explanation.

Let us assume that we need to add the numbers 8 and 5 and get a number 10. For that we can break 8 into 3 and 5. So, that we get the answer as three plus ten. 

Benchmarks of five and ten

This way we can think of breaking the numbers.

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Number Sense Problems

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Add $9$ and $7$


We can use the concept of number sense to make the addition of $9$ and $7$ simpler. 

Number Sense Examples

Now, we can easily add $10$ and $6$ to get the answer $16$. 

Add $299$ and $357$


Here, if we take $1$ from $357$ and add it to $299$ then the question becomes $300 + 356$, which is much simpler to add.

So, we can say:

$299 + 357$ = $300 + 356$ = $656$

Add $3.99$ and $0.17$


Here, we can take $0.01$ from $0.17$ and add it to $3.99$. Then, the question becomes $4 + 0.16$. So, we can say:

$3.99 + 0.17$ = $4 + 0.16$ = $4.16$

Add $50$ minutes and $25$ minutes


For this we can break $25$ minutes as:

$25$ minutes = $10$ minutes + $15$ minutes

Then the question becomes

$50$ minutes + $25$ minutes = $50$ minutes + $10$ minutes + $15$ minutes = $1$ hour $15$ minutes

More topics in  Number Sense
Number Theory Number Sense Problems
Decimals Fractions
Ratios Proportions
Percentages Exponents
Numerical Expression Logarithm
Roman Numbers Significant Figures
Square Root Octal to Decimal Conversion
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