Number Sense: Abstraction Principle

Developing Number Sense: Principles of Counting

All concepts of number sense need to be actively taught.

The conservation principle is one of the first few principles children learn when developing their understanding of number sense.

Abstraction Principle

Is the ability to understand that the number of objects in a group remains set regardless of the composition of the sizes of the objects in the group.

So five large blocks are five.

Three large blocks and two small blocks are also five.

One small, two medium and two large blocks are five.


We practice this on a regular basis throughout our normal play activity. When we get balls out for outdoor learning we might ask the children how many are out when there are a variety of different sizes presented.

Block play provides an easy opportunity to practice this skills. Sometimes we challenge students to build a structure using a certain amount of blocks. Other times we challenge our students with counting the blocks used and/or drawing a representation of their building.

We love to bring a real life connection to building and to expand their knowledge of the world around them. We often use this building activity to get students to represent their ideas the quantity of blocks used and to represent their creations in writing.

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