When I stumbled upon the math picture book, *The Grapes of Math* by Greg Tang and Harry Briggs, I was more than a little impressed.

This book has three great elements:

### The images are colorful and fun!

The first thing you see in this math picture book are the bright but simple images. Looking at them you feel like you’ve stepped into the surreal world of those old View-Master reels.

### The rhymes are catchy and cute!

I’m all about iambic pentameter. Well, I really don’t know exactly what that is, but it sounds like it means bouncy poetry.

And that’s what this math picture book has!

While scallops on the beach look great,

I’d rather see them on my plate.

Unfortunately it’s their loss,

They swim their best in butter sauce.

### Oh, but the counting’s even better!

Each page has objects (fruit, bugs, dice, etc.) spread out so that children can experiment with different ways to “see” how many there are. You can subitize, group, multiply, subtract – or do them all!

The answer key in the back helps you understand the intent of the authors.

But I recommend you try various ways yourself before turning to the back. Some of their methods were very different than what I came up with.

### And you can try it at home!

There are 16 different pictures and riddles to practice on. But it doesn’t have to stop there.

You can do your own playing at home. Check out the grapes I did here:

How will you use the math picture book, *The Grapes of Math*?

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Hi Bon,

I got into a discussion at school yesterday about subitizing and remembered reading about it on your blog. I searched and read all of the posts and just printed/laminated your cards. Thanks!

Thanks Sue!

Also, the Numbers 0-25 Flash Cards from School Zone are nice for this too. They don’t have the number next to the images, but for $3, they are easier than mine. 😉

http://www.schoolzone.com/flash-cards/numbers-0-25-flash-cards

I have a daughter who cannot subitize. She is dyscalculic. She has no basic number sense. She cannot memorize any basic math fact. Related to this, she has no sense of the passage of time and no sense of past and future and no real sense of money, even though she can add money together using her fingers or paper and pencil. The total she added means nothing to her.

In doing extensive research in this area, I have read many research papers on dyscalculia and subitizing. The scientific community, based on extensive brain scans and other studies, seems to feel now that subitizing is something most human beings (and many animal species) do automatically, probably from birth, and that this skill develops further over time. Research is showing that explicit teaching of subitizing can help anyone and quite a bit, but most already have this ability at a basic level and tend to advance in this skill without explicit instruction.

There is a small percentage of the population that does not have the ability to subitize. These children end up struggling tremendously in school and frequently as adults because this basic function is what allows us to do simple arithmetic without counting on our fingers, “memorize” times tables, process elapsed time, understand calendars and the passage of time, handle finances etc. There is a book called My Thirteenth Winter, written by a girl who has dyscalculia. She cannot subitize. If you have a student or a child who, no matter how hard they try, cannot memorize addition, multiplication or subtraction facts, or seems to struggle with time, or the concept of money, read this book to understand how debilitating this issue really can be.

We are just starting to do systematic subitizing exercises with my 7th grade daughter, after years of tears and frustration because of an inability to function in simple math efficiently, yet the cognitive ability to understand many more advanced math concepts (that function using a different part of the brain than the area that subitizes).

Your info here is also helpful. Thank you.

Wish us luck!

Wow, JC! Thanks for the info. What power you, and she, now have knowing what’s going on.

Please keep us informed – and indeed, GOOD LUCK!