Reflection: What is a Digit - Section 2: Teaching the Lesson


"Digit" is a vocabulary word in the Common Core Math Standards that second graders are expected to learn, and to use precisely. The term "digit" is a confusing one for children at this age. The Common Core Standards want children to understand what the digits of a number represent, but children do not differentiate between the terms digit and number. When I asked for definitions most of the children said a digit is a number, which in one way is true. The term digit is defined as "any of the numerals from 0 to 9, esp. when forming part of a number," but the synonyms include numeral and number. 

Developmentally it is hard for children to understand that while a digit is a number, it describes only the numbers 0 - 9, because when a number is 10 or more, it is really 2 digits. 

In this lesson I reinforce that a digit is a single number only. I try to remind students that a digit is a number, but it can only be one number. This concept is difficult and not one that I expect students to fully grasp at this point.

  The Term Digit
  The Term Digit
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What is a Digit

Unit 4: Sensible Numbers
Lesson 2 of 2

Objective: SWBAT define a digit and identify a digit located in the ones place, the tens place, and the 100s place.

Big Idea: Students extend their understanding of the place value system, in base-ten notation, recognizing that the digits in each place represent amounts of hundreds, tens or ones.

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