Subitising is the process of recognising the exact number of objects in a small group without the need to count them one by one. “Subito” is an Italian word for “right now”. This ability to see “chunks” or groups at once helps you count more easily. We are all familiar with domino dot patterns, for example. It helps us separate and combine numbers quickly. This is useful when adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing.
How many farm animals? is a great way for young students to try to subitise without a specific pattern. Each card contains a set of farm animals from 0 – 9 animals. The animals are scattered unevenly across the page. You can start by showing each card to your students and asking them how many animals they see. Gradually build up your speed until you flash each card for a fraction of a second. If they are still able to recognise the correct number of animals, ask them to explain what strategy they used to do this.