Counting with units – counting by 2’s, 5’s or 10’s , for example – is a counting skill that is usually developed well after physical counting, figurative counting, and counting-on.

It is a skill that many first-graders do not yet have, and will likely take some time to develop.

Our book Kids Count! explains the background to unit counting and how you can assess if your child is at that stage of counting development.

With that in mind, the following exercise from the mathletics.com exercises for first graders seems to be way off target:

This exercise follows a couple of others in which the figures represent just 1 thing. In this exercise each figure represents 10 of something – 10 teddies.

A first grader who is still at the physical counting stage, who needs to see or touch the things they count – which is the case for many first graders – will not easily, or at all, be able to reconcile one of the figures as a stand-in for 10 teddies.

Indeed, a typical first grader may not even be able to count to 60

We feel the exercise above from mathletics.com is bound to confuse many first graders.

In our experience, focusing on getting the basics right in grades 1, 2 and 3 is absolutely critical to a child’s developing sense of number and arithmetic.