Recently we ran into a little snafu with the Right Start Math curriculum I am using with Little Bean. The program teaches the child that instead of counting, he should view numbers 6 through 10 as "5 and"--5 and 1 is 6, 5 and 2 is 7, etc. Well, that was no problem for Bean to figure out. What was a problem though was when all of the sudden his math lesson called for the dot cards, picture above. You'll notice that they are not arranged as "5 and", but in sets of two. Yet, the RS people still wanted Bean to know the values of the cards without counting.
I am a firm believer, after having watched Little Bean, that understanding patterns in numbers is far superior to counting them to find out the quantity, so when this stumped him, rather than brushing it aside and moving on with our lessons, I stopped for some review. We spent all of last week reviewing the dot cards, playing games and just working with them to familiarize Bean with their values-without counting.
In this photo, I asked Little Bean to place a red counting bear beneath each even card and a green bear under each odd card. He did this quickly, and then gave a chuckle before noting that the numbers made a pattern--odd, even, odd, even. Of course, I already knew that, and I was hoping that knowing that would give him another strategy for learning the values of the cards without counting. I was delighted when he understood right away that every other number was odd, and that knowing that could help him understand the values of the dot cards that much more.