Engaging in Conversations to Support Math Thinking

“Let’s play blocks while we wait for dinner to heat up. How many blocks do you think we’ll need to build a tower as high as the table? That block looks too narrow to hold this big one at the bottom. Which one should we use instead?”

Having conversations about math supports young children’s mathematical learning. During math conversations, children hear words that describe quantities, sizes, shapes, and locations. These math words help them notice the math in everyday life. Participating in math conversations also allows children to practice using math words themselves and to think about math in more complex ways.

Adults can engage children in math conversations by asking questions that promote children’s math learning. There are many opportunities to ask math questions throughout the day, including during meals and snacks, reading, play, and bedtime. Here are some tips for asking questions that make the most of math conversations.

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