My son and I had this exchange earlier in the day when we were negotiating about whether or not we would watch an afternoon movie.
Me: “Okay, so the movie is 90 minutes long. That’s an hour and a half.”
My son: “How did you know that?”
Me: “An hour is 60 minutes, so I just took 60 minutes away from 90 to get 30 minutes left over, which is half of an hour.”
My son: “So what if the movie was 100 minutes long? No, don’t help me! Let me figure it out… Uh… an hour and forty minutes.”
Me: “What if the movie was 110 minutes long?”
My son: “That’s easy. It’s just 10 minutes different. So instead of 100 take-away 60, it would be 100 take-away 50. Uh… That’s 50 minutes! So the movie would be an hour and 50 minutes long.”
Easier question: What’s the biggest success here?
Harder question: How does this kind of number sense develop in children?