Conceptual Subitizer to 10

Identifies most briefly shown arrangements of all numbers 2 to 10. Children may know some familiar ones ("5 and 5 make 10" is common) early, but this level is reached when most all combinations of all numbers up to 10 are recognized (e.g., 7 and 2 seen as 9; 5 and 3 seen as 8; etc.).

Uses structures such as tens-frames to recognize larger quantities.   


You may see this:

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Other Examples:

  • A child explains, "In my mind, I made a group of 6 and then a group of 3 more, so that’s 9."
  • Child says, “You can make 10 with 5 and 5.” or “I saw 6 and 4, which is 10.”

Help your student become a(n) Conceptual Subitizer to 10

Short, frequent, game-like opportunities to name the number in sets up to 10 in different arrangements (such as a group of 6 next to a group of 3) only seen for 2 seconds or less help develop children's ability to quickly see a whole number by perceiving two parts. With larger numbers, structured arrangements such as five-and-tens frames are helpful. Remember for conceptual subitizing, ask them to name the total first, but then explain how they knew by naming the (preferably two) parts they saw. Encourage discussion of different "ways" to see the parts (4 and 2, 5 and 1, 3 and 3 and so forth).

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.