Subitizing, Counting, and Rearranging

Zoe really likes playing bingo. Today, after we finished a game, I decided to take advantage of the pretty blue chips to conduct a little experiment. Here it is (mostly in pictures).


M: How many chips are there?
Z: One (no counting).


M: How many are there now?
Z: One, two. (She actually often recognizes 2 without counting.)


I move the chips further apart.
M: And now?
Zoe gives me a strange look, then glances at the chips and says “two” without counting.

Can you guess where this is going?


Zoe counts the three chips without a problem.


I rearrange the chips and ask the usual question.
Z: It’s a shape!


M: Yes, but how many are there?
Z: One, two, three. (She has to count them again!)


Not surprisingly, the same thing happened with four.  She counted them the first time.


Then rearranged them herself and counted again!

What impressed me most throughout the process was that she was willing to continue counting (she did run away when I tried to do five 🙂 ). Of course, the most interesting part of the experiment was with 3 chips, although I wasn’t totally surprised by the results. I will try to remember to repeat the experiment in a few months and see if anything changes.

About aofradkin

I enjoy thinking about presenting mathematical concepts to young children in exciting and engaging ways.
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1 Response to Subitizing, Counting, and Rearranging

  1. David says:

    It would be interesting, after she counts the 4, to take 1 away and see whether she counts the remaining 3.


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