## Recommended Posts

This might seem like a random question, but really it is not! What is the highest quantity you can recognize, by just looking at it for a few seconds?

We are a family who uses Right Start Math for Afterschooling, and if you are familiar with that program then you know that Dr. Joan Cotter makes a big deal about teaching children to visualize quantities in addition to counting them.

So right now with my two and a half year old year old, I've been experimenting to see if she can recognize the quantities 2, 3, and 4. (This is just for fun--I'm not going all Tiger-Mom on her or anything.)

One of the commenters on my blog asked how high should adults be able to quantify, and I really have no idea what the answer is. If you only use one type of marker, I can only name up to 7 or 8, in three seconds or less. I'm really curious what other adults can do.

##### Share on other sites

I am probably a bit off of the norm, because of my job. I am a pharmacy technician, so I count pills for a living. I can quickly pour out approximately 30 pills, out of a larger stock bottle, onto a tray fairly accurately. I can glance at it and know the approximate number on a tray. I may not know if it is 29 or 31, but I get very close. I can tell if a filled prescription bottle has approximately 60, 90 or 120 by glancing at it.

I would guess that I could accurately guess up to 15 or so, in 2 seconds. Assuming it is just miscellaneous items on a flat surface. If it was in rows of 5 or another pattern, I assume I could go much, much higher, as we count in 5's, so my brain has 15 years of practice counting by 5's.

Edited by Tap, tap, tap

Wow!

##### Share on other sites

A friend just recently told me that there have been some studies that prove adults can recognize exact quantities *that are not arranged in a pattern* up to 5. 5 or higher must be counted unless it is in a pattern (like on dice).

I'll ask her for a citation.

##### Share on other sites

It's called subitizing. Generally speaking, kids can learn to recognize objects to 10. I have heard that, with some training, many can recognize up to 15 objects. Singapore math makes it a priority in the early years. Over and over again, you will see five arranged as a row of two above a row of three, for example, and ten as two rows of five.

##### Share on other sites

I am probably a bit off of the norm, because of my job. I am a pharmacy technician, so I count pills for a living. I can quickly pour out approximately 30 pills, out of a larger stock bottle, onto a tray fairly accurately. I can glance at it and know the approximate number on a tray. I may not know if it is 29 or 31, but I get very close. I can tell if a filled prescription bottle has approximately 60, 90 or 120 by glancing at it.

I would guess that I could accurately guess up to 15 or so, in 2 seconds. Assuming it is just miscellaneous items on a flat surface. If it was in rows of 5 or another pattern, I assume I could go much, much higher, as we count in 5's, so my brain has 15 years of practice counting by 5's.

As a vet tech we were taught to identify and count by fives as well. So that is what I can identify quickly.

## Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

Only 75 emoji are allowed.