Thinking in Groups
Materials: Index cards, dot stickers or marker.
Set up: Build different arrangements of the numbers 1-10 on blank index cards (look up subitizing for different arrangement ideas).
Activity: Take turns reading the cards. One of you shows the card for only 3 seconds (so there is no counting), and ask how many dots are there? If the student is not sure, show the card again and if they still are not sure, show the card and ask what groups they see. With each card talk about different ways you could group.
Then have the student build the number with their fingers or on an abacus, building in groups – discourage counting one at a time.
Knowing one more and one less
Materials: You will need a deck of cards (face cards removed), 2 index cards and some sort of uniform stacking block. Write the words, “one more” and “one less” on each card and put them into a hat.
Activity: To begin, both of you take a card from the deck, flip it over and build a tower that high. Then both of you draw an index card from the hat (read the card if that is challenging for them) and take turns building another tower one more or one less as indicated by the index card. Once each person finishes building say, for example, “4 is one less than 5”. If the child likes to keep score, you can give the person with the biggest tower one point. Then draw again.
Next level: Once you feel the child is ready, as before, both of you flip a card over and then pick an index card, now have them verbally state the number that is one more/one less and then build it. So, now each of you are only building one tower.
Working with numbers in different ways
Materials: painters tape, deck of cards (face cards removed), marker, and bead.
Activity: Building a number line is a different way to think about numbers, more comparative and abstract. Put a strip of painters tape on the floor or sidewalk, draw a line on the tape. Have the student estimate and draw ticks at only 0, 5, and 10. Talk about why they placed them where they did.
Shuffle the deck of cards and take turns picking a card. Place the bead, by estimating its location on the number line. Talk about why you placed it there and have them do the same. As the student becomes more comfortable, extend the number line to 20, and remove the 5 tick, keeping the 0, 10 and now 20.