Number Conserver


Consistently conserves number (i.e., believes number has been unchanged) even in face of perceptual distractions such as spreading out objects of a collection. 



You may see this:

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Other Examples:

  • A child counts two rows of objects that are laid out across from each other and says they are the same. Adult spreads out one row. The child says, "Both still have the same number; one is just longer."
  • After counting a line of 8 objects, the objects are moved into an unusual arrangement. When asked how many there are, a child says "There are still 8."

Help your student become a(n) Number Conserver

These activities, building on similar attention to quantity at earlier levels, explicitly ask children to recognize that the number in a set does not change unless some are added or subtracted. "The Tricky Fox" activity purposely sets up the notion that children might be followed by appearances, helping them resist the temptation to say, for example, that when objects are spread out, there are more of them.

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.