The cardinal value of a number refers to the quantity of things it represents, e.g. the numerosity, ‘howmanyness’, or ‘threeness’ of three. When children understand the cardinality of numbers, they know what the numbers mean in terms of knowing how many things they refer to. Counting is one way of establishing how many things are in a group, because the last number you say tells you how many there are. Children enjoy learning the sequence of counting numbers long before they understand the cardinal values of the numbers. Subitising is another way of recognising how many there are, without counting.

## Typical progression of key ideas in this concept

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**Image credits**

4 (1) by Ghost Presenter (adapted)

4 (2) by Makarios Tang (adapted)

4 (3) by HENCETHEBOOM (adapted)

4 (4) by Marvin Ronsdorf (adapted)

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