# Never heard of Numicon?!

Never heard of Numicon? You’re not alone! But ever since I introduced them to our school, my love for them has grown! Numicon are number plates that represent the numbers 1-10. They are a great manipulative for the Pre-K to Grade 2 population, in that they are large, easy to grasp and manipulate, colourful and engaging.

### What are they good for?

Children can actively engage with the Numicon plates and pegs in order to reason mathematically.  Numicon resources help students do the following:

1. Explore relationships between numbers
2. Build fluency by thinking flexibly
3. Communicate mathematically
4. Make generalizations

Numicon doesn’t stop there; it also helps build skills! For example: one to one correspondence, sorting, counting, grouping, place value, representing numbers in different ways, ordering numbers, finding patterns, recognizing odds and evens, problem-solving, working through different operations, equivalence, commutative property and even number lines! It is also easy to differentiate with Numicon by varying the challenge or the target numbers.

So I think the better question is what aren’t they good for?!

### Using them in Pre-K

Here is a video of Oliver and I exploring Numicon. Scroll through the video to see how we used Numicon to:

• Count
• Make connections and matches
• Order numbers
• Look for patterns
• Show one to one correspondence
• Subitize
• Introduce a number line
• Reason mathematically
• Communicate mathematically
• Make comparisons
• And problem-solve!

Would I usually do all this in one lesson? Absolutely not, but I wanted to give you a BIG taste of the BIG ideas, all made possible with Numicon!

### Using them in Grade One

Here is a video of Rory and I exploring Numicon at the Grade One level.  In the classroom, I would have done these activities as centers for the students to explore. Below is a quick explanation as well as a description of ways to extend each activity.

• Numicon operations: Goal: practice addition (put plates together) and subtraction (find the difference using pegs). Roll the dice, make the equation, use Numicon plates (addition) and pegs (subtraction) to find the equation. Extension: combine dice.
• Numicon: Build a structure that is worth 20! Goal: adding numbers, thinking flexibly about numbers. Extensions: use the least/most number of plates, or make it the tallest/shortest, or include the pegs in your count, or only count pegs and not plates.
• Numicon Number bonds: Goal: practicing number bonds to 10. Roll a 10-sided dice, find all the ways to make that number. Record them in a number bond on an erasable number bond. Show your work. Extension: Roll the dice and find the corresponding number bond that can only be made in that many ways. For example, roll a 2. Only a 3 can be made 2 ways: 3+0 or 2+1.