Mastering Your Math Facts
Helping Your Child Master The Math Facts
It is a common known standard that your child should learn to memorize the math facts. Everything from subtraction and addition, to multiplication and division. So how do we motivate our kids to learn these math facts? We use something called Math Masters.
Research Behind Learning Math Facts
When your child masters their math facts, they go from being able to count on their fingers (a time consuming task), to automatically remembering their facts. This allows them to retrieve their math facts quickly and effortlessly. Furthermore, the significance of fact retrieval speed as a predictor of performance is not limited to test items that directly assess computation — it predicts performance on math concept problems, word problems, data interpretation problems, and mathematical reasoning items as well. As you would imagine the United States does not take enough time making sure that their children are sufficient enough, in the mastering of the math facts.
In the new Common Core Standards, by the end of second grade, students should have mastered their addition and subtraction math facts. By the end of third grade they should have mastered their multiplication facts. And by the end of fourth grade they should have mastered their division facts. I know that a lot of people are upset with the common core standards, but they are researched based. If you go by the math standards themselves, they are not bad, it is just how they are being implemented in the classroom. Making sure that your children know their math facts by the end of fourth grade will help them with future math content. Chart for the Common Core Standards on math fluency for each grade level.
I recently had a chance to talk with some of my previous fourth grade students, that I had 3 years ago, and I asked them if learning their multiplication facts helped them at all in fifth grade. All of them shook their head vigorously or answered “Yes,” right away. I was surprised at how quick their comments came out. They went on to tell me that in fifth grade they worked a lot on division and that knowing their multiplication facts allowed them to focus on learning how to solve the division problem. One kid told me that he liked being able to multiply numbers quickly, it helped him to get his homework done faster. I was so happy to hear to how much learning their math facts has helped them.
How To Teach Math Fluency
Learning your math facts makes us think of flash cards or timed tests. What if we were to use games instead, apps or even songs? Here are a few sites that have some great ideas to help your child learn their math facts:
http://www.mathwire.com/numbersense/bfacts.html – includes games for all levels and all 4 areas of math fluency (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division).
http://www.edutopia.org/blog/10-apps-for-math-fluency-monica-burns – 10 apps that you can download on your tablet or smart phone, so that your child can learn them anywhere.
Search on www.youtube.com for Classical Conversation skip counting songs – learning by singing is one of the most efficient ways to learn anything.
I created a chart called Math Masters. It allows your kids to work on certain set of math facts for a timed period. Once your kids have had enough sufficient time playing games, singing songs or working on their math apps, you can then give them a math facts timed test. To find some printable math facts timed test try this site, http://www.tlsbooks.com/timedmathdrillworksheets.htm. You should have at least 25 problems on the timed test if they are in kindergarten or beginning of first grade. Towards the end of first grade, and depending on how comfortable your child is becoming with timed tests, you can up the amount of problems on each math facts timed test.
The Math Masters chart allows your child to keep track of their progress. It helps them to visually see their improvements that they are making. Once my child has reached the top of the chart at least three times, then they receive a prize. We have done anything from ice cream sundaes, to game night, to staying up late that night. This helps them to push themselves. Now you do not want your child getting so frustrated, that they give up trying to get to the top of the chart. If you find them working as hard as they can and they still can not reach the top, start celebrating the small steps of progress. So maybe if they can do 30 problems in 2 minutes then they get a reward. Do not change the numbers on the chart, because this teaches them that you do not believe that they will ever be able to accomplish the goal that you set. You have to believe in them for your child to start believing in them self.
Please feel free to take the Math Masters chart and change the numbers on the side to suite the needs of your child more.
For each day that they complete have them put the date in one of the squares at the bottom. Then they can color in their chart up to the number of correct answers on their timed test. Do this at least three times a week, until they reach their goal. Then start on a new goal.
How will you use the Math Masters Chart? Please take a picture or explain in the comment section below!!