Engaging in Conversations to Support Math Thinking

Key Points:

  • Talking about math promotes the development of children’s math skills.
  • Caregivers can look for opportunities to ask children to explain their math thinking.
  • Using hand gestures can help children connect what they’re hearing with what they’re seeing.

Ask Questions That Deepen Math Thinking

  • “How many fish do you see here?”
  • “What shape is this? How do you know?
  • “Where in line is the bear?”
  • “How can we split up this tray of brownies so everyone in the family gets the same number of brownies?”
  • “Who had the most cards at the end of the game?”
  • “Look at this castle you built! What shapes do you see in the blocks?”
  • “Why do you think a yellow flower would come next in this pattern?”
  • “How do you know we have enough plates for everyone?”
  • “Why did you sort these shapes together and this other pile of shapes together?”

Make the Most of Math Conversations



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DREME Network

DREME Network


A network of scholars in early math education, conducting research & developing materials to promote young children’s math learning. https://dreme.stanford.edu