# Math terminology question

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I feel silly asking this, but my elementary school days are quite long ago. :tongue_smilie:

When working with place value, how do you refer to expressing numbers as "5 tens and 6 units" compared to "fifty-six" and "56"? I'm trying to figure out a clear way to explain the difference in those three ways of stating a number to my 3 and 4 year olds.

Regards,

C.

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This is how RightStart teaches place value.

Adding 19 to 13 is "one ten nine plus one ten three equals three ten two."

The RS abacus is very helpful for illustrating this visually.

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For someone that young, I would use an abacus anyway. Place value is difficult enough.

I have liked the way MUS used rooms in a house too. For example, in the ones house, 9 people can live because there is only one room. Once another member of the family arrives, they have to move to the tens house. The tens house has 9 rooms in which 10 people can live. Once all of the rooms are filled, they have to move to the hundreds house. I like the real estate concept. It makes it a bit tangible, which is the key with early math learners. Thus, 5 tens 6 ones. We give them their house names.

And, trial and error may serve you well as you attempt to communicate this concept at this age. :)

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I don't think I ever used any specific terminology for it (and don't think a 3-4 year old needs to know any terminology like that).

I used a 100 chart to teach my 4 year old (now 5), and each day, we put a number on the chart. I would say, "23... that's 2 tens, 3 ones... 23". Then we'd add a straw to our bundle of 22 (which was 2 ten-bundles and 2 individual straws), point out the 2 bundles of ten and the now 3 individual ones, and again say, "23... 2 tens, 3 ones... 23". By time we got into the 30s, my son had it down cold, and this was a child that couldn't count past about 12 when we started.

Your 3 year old may or may not be ready to understand it. Even your 4 year old may or may not be ready. So don't fret if they don't yet. :) Every single time I talked about a number, I reiterated the tens/ones thing. It was torture for me, but it stuck with DS and he's since extrapolated hundreds, thousands, etc., as well as figured out adding tens/ones mentally (I haven't taught that yet). It's amazing what a deep understanding of place value can do. :)

But as far as what to call those... I wouldn't worry about it. Later, they learn "standard form", "expanded form", "words"... If there is a name for "2 tens, 3 ones", I don't know what it is, and I don't think knowledge of that name will ever be necessary. They just need to know that "2 tens 3 ones" is what "23" means.

Hopefully I interpreted your question correctly! :D

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I don't think I ever used any specific terminology for it (and don't think a 3-4 year old needs to know any terminology like that).

I used a 100 chart to teach my 4 year old (now 5), and each day, we put a number on the chart. I would say, "23... that's 2 tens, 3 ones... 23". Then we'd add a straw to our bundle of 22 (which was 2 ten-bundles and 2 individual straws), point out the 2 bundles of ten and the now 3 individual ones, and again say, "23... 2 tens, 3 ones... 23". By time we got into the 30s, my son had it down cold, and this was a child that couldn't count past about 12 when we started.

This sounds like our house/rooms. We had poster board layed out and divided into the rooms with the house name. We used popcicle sticks. She would go to the number for the day and lay out the sticks in the right rooms. She would rubber-band the groups of ten too. As things moved forward, we tied ribbons around the hundreds that were still rubber-banded in groups.

Realistically, did she understand ... I don't think this was actually conceptualized until the end of K, five to six years old. I think the habitual nature of physically dividing the number was a tool that made place value an easily accomplished task when numerical operations became more sated in her education.

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Yes, Boscopup, you understood what I was asking - terms more than how-to. I know my kiddos will not completely get this concept at their ages, and I do have several daily activities including straws :) that we will do to help practice it. But, somewhere I saw a blog post where they were practicing saying numbers in different forms, and the mom had a term for each expression. I guess that is not very common since no one had terms for me. I'll have to dig up that blog again if I can find it.

Thanks anyway!

Regards,

C.

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Found it! It was Lynita who explained it this way with a 100 chart:

Find out what number we pasted on our chart the day prior. Say the English name (thirty-seven) and the â€œmath nameâ€ (three-tens-seven).

Figure out what number will come next. Say the English name (thirty-eight) and the math name (three-tens-eight).

Numerals (56), English name (fifty-six) and math name (five tens and six units/ones) are the kinds of terms I was looking for.

Regards,

C.

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Yes, Boscopup, you understood what I was asking - terms more than how-to. I know my kiddos will not completely get this concept at their ages, and I do have several daily activities including straws :) that we will do to help practice it. But, somewhere I saw a blog post where they were practicing saying numbers in different forms, and the mom had a term for each expression. I guess that is not very common since no one had terms for me. I'll have to dig up that blog again if I can find it.

Thanks anyway!

Regards,

C.

I think you underestimate their potential at this age.

I have a five year old that does not fully understand place value but has been steadily memorizing math facts for the last year. :) She almost has the whole set of 1-10 memorized. We are working on the subtraction facts now.

Repitition and Memorization are keys to learning. Just thought that I would toss that out there before you dismiss something that might be readily received by your child. You do not have to wait for a targeted grade.

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I feel silly asking this, but my elementary school days are quite long ago. :tongue_smilie:

When working with place value, how do you refer to expressing numbers as "5 tens and 6 units" compared to "fifty-six" and "56"? I'm trying to figure out a clear way to explain the difference in those three ways of stating a number to my 3 and 4 year olds.

Regards,

C.

Well we did it by starting with your first example, which was calling "56" 5-Tens 6-Units. We modeled 3 digit numbers from the beginning of math exposure by using base-10 "flats" for 100 values, Orange Cuisenaire Rods as "10s" and the other C Rods as "Units." The base-10 blocks and C Rods share a common scale.

We also discussed "English" names (and how silly they can be) like calling 1-Ten 2-Units "twelve." But using "math names" at the start really reenforced an understanding of place value.

There is much speculation that part of the reason that Asian students tend to excel in early math is that most Asian languages naturally use regular names (similar to 5-Tens 6-Units) rather than irregular names like fifty-six or twelve.

Bill

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There is much speculation that part of the reason that Asian students tend to excel in early math is that most Asian languages naturally use regular names (similar to 5-Tens 6-Units) rather than irregular names like fifty-six or twelve.

Bill

I noticed that when I was using English to teach DD math beyond 10, it was more difficult for her to add in her mind. It was also about the same time that I was reading Dr. Ma's book and quickly switched to teaching in Chinese (happened to be learning Chinese together) just to see if it would make a difference. It did, but it's hard to say for sure since kids seem to make leaps overnight.

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Have you tried writing 516 = 500 + 10 + 6 ? Maybe vertically would be even better. I.e. when you remove the 1 and the 6 it leaves zeroes after the five, and so on.

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