In Games and warm-ups


Subitising is the term maths educators use to describe the process of children being able to identify the number of dots on a card or dice. All children should be able to subitise collections up to 5 without having to count the collection. For collections larger than 5 (particularly collections in an unfamiliar arrangement) children are encouraged to identify the different parts of the collection and combine these to find the total

For example, if shown this collection a student might say “two and three is five”

Objective: To identify the number of dots shown on the card

Materials: Paper plates (or card) and dot stickers

WALT: Use our knowledge of quantities identity numbers

WILF: Match the quantity on the card to the correct number and explain thinking


  • Create a set of subitising cards (plates)
  • Use familiar patterns (e.g. dice, dominoes or tens frames) and less familiar dot patterns
  • Initially use only one colour on each card
  • Record the number of dots on the back of each card
  • Show students the dot pattern and ask them to identify the number and explain their thinking, e.g. I see 3 dots and 2 more dots which is 5 dots
  • Encourage the students to use their knowledge of quantities to help them identify the total, i.e. we do not want students to be counting all


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