Today, I learnt a new word for mathematics that is ‘subitize’. It means “to perceive the number of (a group of items) at a glance without counting (http://www.thefreedictionary.com).
I would be able to ‘subitize’ easily should I need to count there are items less than 20. When I learnt about ‘subitize’, I also learnt that it is one of the strategies used by the children in the classroom. During class activities where the children are required to count the objects, there are children who need to count loudly while others able to give the answer in seconds. Sometimes, as a teacher, I thought that children who are able to give the answers are ‘brighter’ than the others, but, actually they are using the concept of ‘subitizing’. Can the ‘subitize’ by taught? As teachers, we need to create experiences for the children, allow them to investigate, scaffold them and we need to explain or tell them too. I realised that ‘subitizing’ is an important mathematical skills. According to Beckwith and Restle 1996, Wang, Resnick and Boozer 1971, “The spatial arrangements of sets influences how difficult they are to subtize. Children usually find rectangular arrangements easier, followed by linear, circular and scrambled arrangements” (cited by http://gse.buffalo.edu/fas/clements/files/Subitizing.pdf).