Conceptual Subitizer to 7

Identifies all arrangements to 6, then 7, when shown only briefly.


You may see this:

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Other Examples:

  • A child rolls a pair of dice and knows there are 7 dots because they see a 2 and a 5.
  • The child says, "I rolled seven; I saw 5 and 2 and so it's seven!"

Help your student become a(n) Conceptual Subitizer to 7

Activities throughout the day naming the number in sets up to 7 and especially short, frequent, game-like opportunities to name the number in sets in different arrangements (such as a group of 2 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. Two different colors may help children initially distinguish the two parts, but they may limit children's creativity in how they partition the objects, engendering rich discussions. So simple identical objects are often the best choice. 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). Before moving to a new level, make sure children know all the combinations of all the numbers up to 7 (at least).

Practice-based Research: Conceptual subitizing is the most effective way of developing understanding of arithmetic combinations because children see and keep in the minds, all three:  part, part, and whole.

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.