October 14, 2020

Show Me The Numbers


'Show Me The Numbers' is game based on an evidence-based strategy called Number Representations. This is a game that I use in my virtual math camps as well as in parent trainings and teacher professional learning opportunities. 


Show Me The Numbers is so much fun for students. When students are having fun engaging in the Mathematics we change the paradigm and decrease fear and frustration in the subject. While the students are engaged they are also increasing their number sense and improving their computational fluency as this strategy focuses on flexibility of number.

Show Me The Numbers can be played face-to-face as well as online in both synchronous and asynchronous learning. Face to face it's a fun carousel activity to get kids up and moving, or even as Do Now as they walk into class. Asynchronously this makes for a great discussion board idea, simply changing out the number weekly or possibly daily. In live online sessions students can type their representations into the chat or write them on a dry erase board which they hold up to the camera.

Show Me The Numbers as part of an Interactive Educator Professional Learning

Show Me The Numbers is also low floor, high ceiling. This means it is a mathematical activity where everyone in the group can begin and then work on at their own level of engagement. It can be used in any classroom and is accessible for students at varying levels. It can also be used at any grade level.

Increase Number Sense

The characteristics of good number sense include: 

  • Fluency in estimating and judging magnitude
  • Ability to recognize unreasonable results
  • Flexibility when mentally computing
  • Ability to move among different representations and to use the most appropriate representation.

Kalchman, Moss and Case (2001)

Improve computational fluency

NCTM Principle and Standards of School Mathematics (2000) define computational fluency as having efficient, flexible and accurate methods for computing.  

  • Efficient - the ability to choose an appropriate, expedient strategy (and/or algorithm) for a computation
  • Flexible - the ability to use number relationships with ease in computation
  • Accuracy - the ability to produce a correct answer


Choose a number of the day or even number of the week.
Have students show the number is any many ways as possible. Possible representation ideas include:

  • Word form
  • Drawing objects
  • Tally marks
  • Addition
  • Subtraction
  • Multiplication
  • Division
  • Exponents
  • Time
  • Money
  • Expanded form
  • Roman numerals
Sample Circle Map with multiple representations of the number 12.

Dig Deeper

For your most struggling students, this concept of number representations (which originates in the Kindergarten Common Core State Standards) can be explicitly taught with this lesson from Understood.org.

Students can also work on the concept of number representations and practice flexibility of number with free Number Games for different elementary grades on SplashLearn.

Christina Tondevold, also known as the Recovering Traditionalist, has creating amazing subitizing cards that you can purchase from her or download for free! These cards show different representations of numbers and can be used to replace a traditional deck of cards for many games. You can also go old school and play Memory or even Go Fish with them!

Naomi Church introducing and modeling the concept at a state meeting of the Florida Diagnostic and Learning Resources System (FDLRS).

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