# Describe opportunities which support children’s understanding of: number, shape, size and pattern, weight, volume and capacity, space and time, matching and sorting, data representation, problem-solving

Qualification: NCFE CACHE Level 3 Diploma for the Early Years Educator
Unit: Unit 3.6: Develop emergent mathematical skills of children
Learning outcome: Understand how opportunities support children’s emergent mathematical development
Assessment criteria: Describe opportunities which support children’s understanding of: number, shape, size and pattern, weight, volume and capacity, space and time, matching and sorting, data representation, problem-solving

Mathematics plays a critical role in the development of young children. By exposing children to various math concepts, such as number and sorting, early on, children can gain an understanding of mathematical concepts and develop essential skills that will prepare them for more advanced mathematical learning. In this blog post, we will explore some of the opportunities available to support children’s understanding of number, shape, size and pattern, weight, volume and capacity, space and time, matching and sorting, data representation, and problem-solving in early years settings.

## Number

One way to help children understand number is through counting activities. Counting can be done with objects or with your fingers. You can also use concrete materials such as blocks or counters to help children learn how to count. This helps them understand the relationship between numbers and physical objects.

## Shape & Size

Understanding shapes and sizes requires spatial awareness. This can be taught through activities such as puzzles or drawing shapes on paper or a whiteboard. It also helps to compare different shapes or sizes so that children can see how they are similar or different from one another.

## Weight & Volume

To illustrate weight and volume to young learners, you can provide them with containers of different sizes filled with water or sand. Ask them questions about which container holds more liquid or which container is heavier than the others. You can also have them weigh objects using a balance scale while discussing what makes one object heavier than another (e.g., its size).
Space & Time Understanding space requires being able to recognize patterns in order to make predictions about the future based on past observations. To teach these concepts in early learning settings you could set up an obstacle course for children to navigate while discussing how much time it takes for an object to move from point A to point B (or vice versa). You could also have them sort objects into categories by size or shape while discussing why certain items belong in each category (e.g., all large cubes are sorted together).

## Matching & Sorting

Matching involves recognizing similarities between two objects while sorting involves recognizing differences between two objects. In early learning settings you could teach these concepts by having children match up pictures that look the same or sort pictures into categories based on color or shape (e.g., all red circles go together). You could also give them puzzles pieces that need to be matched up according to their shapes before they are put together correctly.

## Data Representation

For data representation activities you could present your students with charts or graphs that show information about different topics such as weather patterns or population growth over time. Ask students questions about what patterns they observe from looking at the data presented in the chart/graphs so that they can practice making inferences from data sets presented visually rather than just written out numerically on paper.