Is Your Child Struggling to Memorize the Math Facts?
Number lines, charts, fingers, and counters will delay memorization of the math facts.
As an educator of children with learning disabilities, I have always stressed mastery of the addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts. Unless the facts are automatic, children will have difficulty learning more advanced math skills, and with solving word problems. This is also true for children without learning disabilities.
Need Some Good Strategies to Help Students Memorize Math Facts?
Please view and try out the sample pages from Two Plus Two Is Not Five and Five Times Five Is Not Ten to get an idea of what the workbooks offer. My blog also has more details on teaching math facts to children and shows some of the tricks and strategies from the books.
Are you looking for the best way to teach math facts?
Which math facts does your child know?
EMAIL US for a FREE copy of the Baseline Recorders. After you find out which facts your student knows, you can teach the other facts. Read below to learn how you can teach children math facts using a method that works.
My suggestion to anyone teaching math facts is first make sure the child can demonstrate what the calculation means, then teach a way to remember the fact, and give lots of written practice and review.
Both Two Plus Two Is Not Five: Easy Methods to Learn Addition and Subtraction and Five Times Five Is Not Ten: Make Multiplication Easy have strategies to remember the facts, and many reproducible practice and review pages.
- Two Plus Two Is Not Five: Easy Methods to Learn Addition and Subtraction uses strategies to introduce facts. Children practice the math facts by the trick names throughout the book. You can view sample pages.
- Five Times Five Is Not Ten: Make Multiplication Easy uses strategies to introduce multiplication facts, and has some addition and subtraction review. Children practice the math facts by the strategy names throughout the book. You can view sample pages.
Now there is a workbook to give students more advanced practice using their known addition and subtraction facts.
- Addition and Subtraction: Beyond Math Facts has addition and subtraction with larger numbers, regrouping, word math, and more. Use this book by itself or with Two Plus Two Is Not Five. You can view sample pages.
How You Can Teach Math Facts
Many of the after school activities that children are involved in are also suspended during school holidays. Without the pressure of not-enough-time-in-a-day, you can start to help your child focus on learning math facts, or you can set aside some 10-20 minutes for this during school days. Teachers working with small groups of children can also use this method.
Once you get started, you and your child will see that it does not take up a lot of time, and it is easy, and even fun for the children to learn math facts.
- Use a set of flash cards to determine which math facts are “known,” meaning the fact is answered automatically and correctly without counting to get the answer.
- Record these known facts. If you are using Two Plus Two Is Not Five: Easy Methods to Learn Addition and Subtraction or Five Times Five Is Not Ten: Make Multiplication Easy, the record-keeping pages are provided for you in the books.
- Use 3″ by 5″ index cards to make a practice card for each known fact, and keep them in a rubber-banded pile. Keep addition and subtraction facts in one pile, and multiplication cards in another.
- Review these fact cards daily with your child. Remember, your child knows them, so they will be easy to answer, and your child will feel good about knowing the answers quickly!
- Teach a few new facts each day, and make a 3″ by 5″ card for each one. Add these new facts to the stack of known facts, and continue to practice daily. Remember to teach a way to remember the fact.
- Repeat the process so that over time, the child masters all of the facts, and will not have to count out answers when working on math assignments. Time will vary depending on the each individual’s ability, the number facts known, and the frequency of practice sessions.
A word of advice: Set the pace at the child’s ability. Some children will be ready to learn new facts during each practice session; others may not. Keep the child successful, and remember to praise your child.
What should you do when the stack of practice cards becomes too large to go through every day?
EMAIL US with this question, and we will send you the answer in a copy of our Free Tip on How to Individualize a Math Facts Program. Please let us know if you are a parent or an instructor of a large or small group of students.
Math facts tested in a minute – what are these timed tests really testing?
Adults often assign children arithmetic papers filled with rows of addition or subtraction facts, and perhaps mixed addition and subtraction facts. Sometimes we give the children a set amount of minutes in which to complete these pages, and the children cannot advance to the next stage until they can accurately answer these facts in a specific amount of time. I do not advocate these timed tests before children have memorized answers or have a strategy to use to answer the facts.
I have watched many children take timed tests. There are students who may know the answers automatically, but tend to write slower or are slower by nature to respond. Some of these children could also be the ones that are concerned about neatness; they use time to carefully erase incorrectly formed numerals, and then rewrite answers perfectly. In addition, some children stop to fix their hair when long bangs or hair gets in the way of seeing the page. (I suggest headbands or something to use to tie back hair.)
With this first group, the ability to write fast or stay on task, not math fact knowledge, is tested. Allow another way to test proficiency for these students, who may in fact know the answers without counting, but just cannot seem to complete the page quick enough.
A second group of children tested for speed includes children needing to use fingers, counters, counting in their head, number lines, or charts to get the answers. These children do not know many of the answers, and they are not learning to memorize the facts by taking the timed test. The test measures how quickly and accurately they can count to get answers. I have watched some children in this group get through the first row of facts quickly because they have memorized the sequence of answers. Others, if given the same math fact problem more than once on a page, use a strategy to take the time to search for the answer that is somewhere else on the page. These children ought not to be taking timed tests until we teach them a way to remember the answers.
Just given random written practice, many students will not learn math facts. Timed or not timed, the exercise is frustrating and useless when children do not know answers on the page. Teach them strategies to remember and memorize the math facts. Give children written practice on the math facts they can answer successfully.