The concept of one to one correspondence is introduced as a precursor to counting with meaning. When children begin counting, they can often sound off the numbers from memory without giving it much thought. This is called "rote counting." Assigning meaning to the numbers, by helping the child understand that the number 1 represents one object, number 2 represents 2 objects, etc. Before, counting with meaning can be taught, children will need to understand how to match groups of equally numbered items, or one to one correspondence.
How do you know if you should teach One to One Correspondence?
If a child counts objects skipping over ten of them as they count to 3, you will know that they are having trouble assigning meaning to numbers and need to understand one to one correspondence. If a child can already count with meaning, they already have a good grasp of one to one correspondence.
Have the child pass out something to everyone in the room, for example a plate. Before you begin, tell them to, "be fair and make sure everyone gets a plate." If the child can not do this, model it for him/her and keep practicing until they can give one object to each person. Other ideas for objects that can be passed out are: toys, cups, candy, napkins, forks, pencils, pieces of cake, etc.
Counting Groups of the Same Number
Materials: 6-10 household objects.
Count out a group of objects. They can be forks, spoons, counters, quarters, pennies, or anything that you have around the house. Begin by counting out a small group of 3 objects. Place them in front of the child as you count. Now ask the child to repeat what you did. See if the child can count on a second group of the same objects. If the child can not do it, model the counting out of the second group, then start over and ask the child to do it after being shown. In this activity the groups of objects should be identical. For example, a group of 3 pennies and a second group of 3 pennies. After the child is successful, move on to larger groups of objects.
Dice Drawing Game
Materials: Paper, pencils, small round objects
Draw 2 squares on a sheet of paper. Ask the child to place one counter on each square. Counters are small round manipulatives used to teach math, if you don't have counters you can use any small round objects that are identical in shape or size, such as dimes or raisins. You can also draw the circles onto the squares, but this may be more difficult for some children. If the child cannot place a counter on each square, model the activity and then ask the child to repeat it. Once the child has mastered this activity, put more dots on the squares to make "dice." See if they can place equal numbers of dots on each square die that's been drawn.
Matching Games to Teach One to One Correspondence
Materials: Reusable cans, yogurt containers, or plastic bottles with the top cut off, markers, construction paper, straws.
You can recycle materials to make your own one to one correspondence games at home. Use empty bottles, cans, or yogurt cups to make containers. Cover them with construction paper. Place dots one through 5 on the front of the containers. Have the child practice one to one correspondence by putting the correct number of straws in each container. For example, a container with 5 dots, should have 5 straws placed in it. Other household items such as craft sticks, spoons, or forks can be used in place of the straws. A similar game that can be used to teach one to one correspondence with dots is the parking garage game. Use old milk cartons to create "garages" as seen in the photo. Place dots on the top of each garage and have the child drive the correct number of cars into each garage.
Once you have mastered teaching one to one correspondence with objects, children will be ready to learn to count with meaning. This concept is typically taught in kindergarten, but the bsic principles can be used with any child.
Photo Credits: HS Schulte
More from this author: