Number Sense Activities to Help Math Fluency

As educators, we know that number sense is a critical piece of the puzzle that is mathematical thinking. Number sense grows when we begin to connect numerical values to real life. It is so important for students to recognize that numbers are related and that they do not exist in isolation. Make sure you check out the other blog post about number talks here!

Number Sense Activities
Number Sense Activities

Once students develop this type of number sense, their mathematics understanding becomes deeper and more meaningful.  

One way to develop a strong number sense in students is through number talks. A number talk is a daily routine that encourages students to do mental math and engage in conversations about math procedures and problems.

Number Talks as Number Sense Activities
Number Talks as Number Sense Activities

Students can then see that there are multiple ways to arrive at the same conclusion and therefore that numbers are related. There is nothing like the lightbulb moments that happen during a number talk!

What are the Benefits of Number Sense?

#1 – Number sense helps students learn to solve problems in new ways. When students realize that numbers are connected, they are able to think outside the box and solve problems in creative ways. This is an important skill to practice in math and then utilize in all areas of life.

#2 – Number sense supports mental computation. Being able to do quick mental math is a life skill that everyone will need. Need to leave a tip on a bill? Want to do a quick assessment on whether or not that sale price is worth it? Have a budget you need to stick to at the grocery store? These are all great times to use mental math. Students will need this skill, and having a strong number sense will help.

Number Talks as Number Sense Activities
Number Talks as Number Sense Activities

#3 – Number sense helps students feel comfortable explaining the process used to solve an equation.  Again, this is a life skill that students will use forever. Being able to explain one’s thinking is an advanced social emotional skill, and having a developed number sense will help them practice this within the structure of a mathematics lesson.

Number Sense Activities

Having a daily routine to practice number sense, like a number talk, is a great way to begin developing this in your classroom. Number talks can build math fluency, encourage students to engage in mathematical discourse, and build confidence. 

I have both digital and paper resources to support you in number talks for K-5 classrooms. These resources can save you tons of time because they are ready-to-go, just print or display!

Number Talks as Number Sense Activities
Number Talks as Number Sense Activities

You can also use them all year long, so no need to stress last minute to get your number talk activity ready. Check out the year-long 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, and 5th Grade number talk bundles. I have some number sense activities for K-2nd, which you can check out here.