Every kid can succeed at learning math facts. But it takes a teacher who understands how to teach math to make it happen!
Mastering math facts isn't just rote memorization. The term
"mastery learning" implies that we have internalized a concept so well
that we can manipulate and extend meaning from it.
There's a trend (always is in education) right now that we shouldn't expect kids to take timed math tests and put a score on how proficient they are.
There is a fine line between teaching strategies, becoming fluent and expecting automaticity Fluency in math facts does not mean taking a whole minute to solve a problem that should be mentally calculated in a nano-second.
Fluency is having an arsenal of strategies that are efficient. Students develop automaticity through practice.
So keep that in mind when teaching children how to work quickly with numbers - the goal is to develop methods that will allow them to proceed in higher-order mathematics without stumbling over the basics.
The foundation of teaching children mathematics is developing number sense.
When students have number sense, they can visualize and manipulate numbers using efficient strategies. These strategies are then applied to problem solving exercises.
If you're looking for addition and subtraction strategies, they're found here. Below are best strategies for teaching subtraction multiplication facts.
Use any counters, such as poker chips,
beans or cubes. For the problem: 7-3, the student gets 7 counters,
takes away 3 of them, and then counts the remaining ones to find the
Similar to Joining All in the previous page, this
is a simple, straight-forward strategy. Even the youngest students
understand the concept of learning math facts with this concrete model.
2. Skip Count Backwards
This is one of the most under-used strategies for learning math facts. Try it with your class. They will probably struggle for the first few (or more) times!
We do not "train their brains," so to speak, to subtract numbers as
easily as we add them. By working on skip counting backwards every day
with your students, you are training their minds to work with numbers
from a different angle.
If you can get your students fluent
with counting backwards by 5s, 4s, 9s, 11s,...and you will see the
difference it makes in learning subtraction math facts. Singapore Math
uses this strategy frequently, and their results speak for themselves.
3. Counting Back and Counting Up
Back works best for subtracting 1,2 or 3. It is simply having the
student count backwards (22-2=20). A hundreds chart is helpful for
students who lack gestalt imagery with learning math facts.
Up is when the student starts at a lower number and then counts up to
the higher number. For example, 15-11. The student starts at 11 and
counts up to 15. You are actually introducing the inverse property of
addition in elementary mathematics.
4. Use a Ten or Doubles
students have been memorizing math facts that make a ten and can solve
their doubles, they can start to use those strategies to solve
subtraction math facts.
If they know that 7+3=10, then that
problem can be used for 10-7 and 10-3. This is also teaching
pre-algebraic concepts when the difference is written as "n" and the
students must solve for it.
Using doubles means that you can use addition doubles to learn subtraction "half-doubles." If 6+6=12, then 13-7=6 since 7 is just one more than 6.
Strategies for teaching math facts for multiplication are quite similar to math addition facts. As always, looking for patterns is the focus of any good strategy we use in teaching basic math facts.
1. Skip Counting
When children skip count, they are
informally using multiplication. This is a great strategy to practice
math facts as it embeds a pattern into their brains and wets the premise
for making groups of things.
When we say 5x3, that really means 5 groups of 3. Skip count by 3: 3, 6, 9, 12, 15. Fifteen is the product.
a Hundreds Chart for teaching math facts with skip counting. The
students should place a chip or token over every number you skip count
by to represent the groups that are being made.
2x2, 3x3, 4x4...doubles seem to be easier for many children to grasp. You can also use doubling in another way.
Show the students that doubling can help them practice math facts by breaking down a product into simpler, known products.
For example, 4x5 is twice as much as 2x5. 2x5=10, two 10s equals 20, so the product of 4x5=20.
3. The Sum of Known Products
It is useful in learning math facts to know how to use two related problems to solve a more difficult one.
can be challenging. However, since 6x6=36 (doubles!) and 2x6=12 (skip
counting!), you can add the two products together to get 6x8=48.
4. Patterns in Numbers