# Help with subitizing

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My 5yo boy has a lot of trouble with subitizing (I just recently learned that this is a thing :) ) -- recognizing small number groups at a glance without counting, like you do when rolling dice.

We're doing a trial of dreambox.com math, and many of the early K lessons are all about this skill. Before now, we were using SM, and haven't really focused on this as a skill all its own. In the Dreambox lessons, he's just trying and failing over and over, which doesn't bother him in the least. His two sisters (one his twin, the other 10.5 months younger and working at K level as well) aren't having the same difficulty.

He can count into double-digits (both counting alone and numbers of items), has greater/smaller/more/less down pat. He understands addition pretty well, and can add numbers up to 20 or so with manipulatives or a number line. He can do some subtraction as well.

I have two questions:

( a ) Is this really that important right now, or should I just let him skip past these lessons?

( b ) If it is something that needs to be mastered before moving on, any hints for getting him to learn it? Dreambox uses flash cards that are only shown for a short time, and he just doesn't care if he gets them right or not (the software gives rewards even if he doesn't get all of the answers right). I've tried playing games with him using manipulatives and Zingo 1-2-3, and he keeps counting instead of doing the subitizing thing (if I physically keep his pointer finger away, I can see his head bouncing as he counts with his eyes).

I know that part of my problem is finding his (ever-changing) "currency", but the things that work for other subjects just aren't cutting it here.

Any suggestions?

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There is a list of math games for Kers on the Math Mammoth website. One game uses dominoes. You place all the dominoes upside down. Then you and your son would each draw a domino. The one with the highest number of dots wins.

At first I'm sure he'd count the dots, but eventually he'd start recognizing the whole.

Good luck! Hope you find something that works.

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Yeah, we've played this game... he gets some, others he has to count (over and over and over and...). He'll also spit out answers without giving any thought whatsoever, like "3 plus 2 is... eleven?"

So. Frustrating.

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There is a list of math games for Kers on the Math Mammoth website. One game uses dominoes. You place all the dominoes upside down. Then you and your son would each draw a domino. The one with the highest number of dots wins.

At first I'm sure he'd count the dots, but eventually he'd start recognizing the whole.

Good luck! Hope you find something that works.

link to the games for Kers? I searched the MM website up and down last week for hints or ideas for K and couldn't find anything.

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If he's good on everything else, then I'd just lay off the dots for a couple months. He'll do it when he's ready.

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nice, thanks! I still couldn't find it on my own, going back and clicking on everything!

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I used the Race to Trace game from http://www.k-5mathteachingresources.com/kindergarten-math-activities.html

to work on this with my son. At first he counted a lot, but then with practice he started to subitize.

Sometime to play a shorter version of the game we played collaboratively working together to trace all the numbers on a single sheet.

I don't laminate any of the materials from the site. I just put the page that is used for writing on with dry erase markers in a page protector.

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