Parts Combiner

Recognizes that sets can be combined in different orders, but may not explicitly recognize that groups are additively composed of smaller groups. The toddler also recognizes Part-Whole relations in nonverbal, intuitive, perceptual situations and can nonverbally represent parts that make a whole. 



You may see this:

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Other Examples:

  • When shown four red blocks and two blue blocks, intuitively appreciates that "all the blocks" include the red and blue blocks, but when asked how many there are in all, may name a small number, such as 1.
  • A toddler puts three items (i.e., cars) in a row. 
  • A toddler notices and groups by differences in number and quantity based on physical characteristics of objects and visuals (i.e., grouping stacks of Unifix cubes/dot cards by “more” versus “less” or the “same”). 
  • A child trades several small items for a larger one, an initial step for grouping and later, place value.
  • A child identifies “more” with collections of up to four items, without needing to count them. 
  • A toddler gives a caregiver one food item from a pile of many when asked for “one”. 

Help your student become a(n) Parts Combiner

Finger plays that include adding additional pieces throughout or showing how a whole can include parts.

Special Thanks To

Institute of Education Sciences
The research reported here was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through grant numbers R305K050157, R305A120813, R305A110188, and R305A150243. to the University of Denver. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute or the U.S. Department of Education.