Bee5's - What's the buzz?



Here at the Activity House we have developed a number sense scheme we call Bee5’s.  All activities in the Bee5’s activity pack are designed for children at grades K and 1, and are based around the visual modelling of numbers in groups of five.

Additionally, the structure of the Bee5’s abacus is based around the idea of a Rekenrek – highlighting groups of 5.


This offers a visual picture for young learners that one number may be a combination of two or more other numbers.  With the Bee5’s scheme with yellow and black, children quickly learn to “see” in groups of 5 and 10.  Therefore, the child will see the number 7 as two distinct parts:  one group of 5, and two more.

Likewise, the child sees 13 as one group of 10, and 3 more.






This visual model of numbers in groups of five and ten, helps children develop a rich sense of numbers, and intuitive strategies for addition and subtraction with single and double-digit numbers.


The term subitizing is used to describe the cognitive processes through which we recognize number patterns and associate a numeral with a given quantity.  We might best think of subitizing as the ability to instantly recognize particular groupings of objects within a larger grouping without having to count each individual element.  Bee5’s helps children build on their natural capacity to subitize in order to recognize quantities up to 10 without depending on the routine of counting.  In these examples, we see 8 as a group of 5 and three more, without having to count any individual beads.


Because the color of the beads changes after 5, children can subitize easier and relate quantities to the benchmarks of 5 and 10. Because ten plays such an important role in our number system, and two fives make up ten, children must know how numbers relate to five and ten.

Bee5’s helps children develop these more advanced strategies by building number sense - relationships about numbers. Using 5 and 10 as anchors for counting, adding and subtracting is obviously more efficient than one-by-one counting.


Bee5’s activities cover the following Common Core standards:

K.CC.4, K.CC.5, K.OA.3, K.NBT.1, 1.NBT.1, 1.NBT.2

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