The Give-N Task for Assessing Child Number Knowledge

Children learn very early (often as young as 2 years old) to recite the number-word list in order (Fuson, 1988). But at the beginning, the words are merely placeholders—children recite the list without knowing what the individual number words mean. Over time, children fill in the words with meaning, one at a time and in order (Carey, 2009; Sarnecka & Lee, 2009). The child’s progress on this front is called their number-knower level, or just knower level. A child who does not yet know any number word meanings is called a pre-number-knower or 0-knower. A child who only knows the meaning of “one” is a 1-knower; knowing “one” and “two” makes her a 2-knower; and so forth. After reaching the 3-knower or 4-knower level, children become cardinality-principle-knowers (or CP-knowers, for short). That transition happens when they figure out the cardinality principle of counting, which allows them to infer the meanings of all higher number words through counting.


The task most commonly used to assess knower level is the give-N task. In this task, children are given a large bowl of small items and told that they are going to play a game with a puppet. The experimenter asks the child to give a certain number of items to the puppet—for instance, “Can you give Mr. Bunny TWO bananas?” The numbers requested generally include “one” through “six” (a few studies include higher numbers), with about three trials per number word.


There is also an excel spreadsheet referenced inth

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 An Excel sheet for inferring children's number-knower levels from give-N data.
Periodicals>Journal Article:  Negen, Sarnecka, Lee (26 July 2011), An Excel sheet for inferring children's number-knower levels from give-N data., Psychonomic Society, Retrieved on 2015-04-03
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  • Folksonomies: education mathematics quantification