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).

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

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

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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?

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Zoe counts the three chips without a problem.

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

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

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

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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.

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About aofradkin

I enjoy thinking about presenting mathematical concepts to young children in exciting and engaging ways.
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One 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.

    Like

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