Math Fact Practice
Memorizing basic math facts is essential in math success. Why?
You will be able to:
- · Solve problems more quickly
- · Focus more on the concept being used
- · Self-evaluate work as you go along for errors.
Below are a few strategies that have worked with students of previous years. It is important to make the commitment to succeed and practice constantly. When you want to become better at any sport, playing an instrument, or other activity of interest; you practice. Memorizing your facts takes the same commitment. I have noticed several students over the past several years that have done poorly on unit tests primarily because they did not know their facts solidly. This caused them to make several computation errors. I have also noticed that most students that make this commitment to review their facts daily gain greater success, but it does take TIME and EFFORT. You MUST review your facts DAILY. If you follow these suggestions and methods and continue to struggle, please see Mrs. Lockhart.
Best results come from:
Frequent short periods of review (5-10 minutes per day)
Focus on specific facts.
Using Flash Cards (Even though this is “low-tech,” students experience the most success from this method. If you struggle with memorizing your basic math facts, please make this your primary method of review.)
This method requires assistance from a peer or parent to be most successful. Many have used versions of this method, but I feel it is VERY IMPORTANT to limit the number of cards you study. There are 2 methods you can select. It is better to review these facts for 5 - 10 minutes every night than 15 or more minutes every other night. Several short review sessions seem more successful and less boring than long ones. Also, try focusing on one operation at a time until successful with both SPEED and ACCURACY.
- Method ONE:
- Remove around 15 cards from the deck of flash cards. Use ONLY these cards for this practice session. Have the person testing you ONLY give you 2 seconds maximum to solve the problem. If you get the problem incorrect or do not answer in the 2 seconds, they should give you the answer. You should repeat the problem and answer aloud. This card should then be placed after 2 cards back in the pile. This means that the problem you were unable to answer quickly will reappear shortly. Each incorrect or slow response gets placed 2 cards back allowing you to repeat it several times until it has been learned. If you solve the fact problem correctly within the 2 seconds, the card is placed at the end of the stack of 15 cards. You should continue through this stack several times until you are able to solve each problem without error. On round two (day 2) of practice, you might chose to continue with half of the stack used and add half a stack of new fact cards.
- Method TWO: (Fact problems more specific)
- If you notice that you are struggling with a specific fact set (ie. time 3s), sort through the flash cards and remove any card that is "___x3" or "3 x ___". Select your 15 or so cards from this stack and use the method described above.
Using these methods allows you to have repetitive focus on a smaller number of fact cards. Remember to practice EVERY NIGHT.
Multiplication / Addition WAR
This method follows the typical card game of war and works best with addition and multiplication. You start by taking a deck of playing cards and removing the picture cards. Leave the ACE in the deck and count it as "one" Divide the deck between the two players. Each player flips over their top card. The two cards are then multiplied or added together. First player to solve the problem correctly wins the round. If there is a tie in the answer, another round is played to determine the winner. Winner is determined when the opposing player has no cards left. It is important that if you are playing with a partner that knows their facts very well that they give you no more than 2 seconds.
Specific Fact Sheet Practice
If you choose to use fact sheets, it is best to focus on specific facts and expand from there. Create or locate a sheet that focuses on the specific facts you struggle with (ie. times 3, or times 4, or times 7...)
Math Fact Cafe - The Fact Sheet Factory is a good website for creating such fact sheets.
Are you having difficulties with your subtraction facts? Think addition!
Look at 15-8 as
? + 8 = 15.......? = 7
Look at 56 / 7 as
? * 7 = 56........? = 8
Online Practice -
***This should not be a regular substitute for flash card practice unless you can find a site that offers IMMEDIATE feedback and offers time limits to assist in developing both speed and accuracy. Please let me know if you find better / additional sites.
- PlayKidsGames.com - Set your time to 3 minutes and see how many facts you can solve. Aim for 100 plus facts! If you are not correct, it will not let you move along. Set as "up to 10" (to begin), "3 minutes", and the area of facts you wish to review. This will not cover all facts, but will give you a good review for most.
- Arcademic Skill Builders - Play online games against other players or the computer such as Jet Ski Addition, Island Chase Subtraction, Grand Prix Multiplication, Drag Race Division. You can also play single player games such as Meteor Multiplication, Demolition Division, Alien Addition, and Minus Mission. You can even arrange to play against your classmates at a certain time.
- Math Magician Games - Try to beat your time and score each time. Select the type of basic facts you wish to practice to select a specific fact set (ie. "times 6", "divided by 8", "plus 4"). This method would be a good idea to focus on specific facts if you MUST practice by yourself. If you are ready, click on "Math Magic" for mixed practice of 50 or 100 problems. **Does not give you immediate feedback of errors.
- Multiflyer - Click practice to review specific multiplication facts or play the game. There is a number grid to assist you when needed. This method would be a good idea to focus on specific facts if you MUST practice by yourself. ***You do get immediate feedback if your answer is incorrect.
- BCC Times Table Grid Game - Select specific multiplication fact tables or review all facts at one time. Game keeps track of total time to solve selected problems. Answer is given and you need to identify the correct box on the table. ***Gives immediate feedback if answer is correct or incorrect. Use to help with multiplication and division.
- Reaction Math - Review addition, subtraction, and multiplication facts.
- Math Trainer - (Math is Fun) Get in some serious multiplication table training. Responds to your answers ... so it will train your weaknesses. Use 3 sessions of 5 minutes each per day for best results. Train yourself to REMEMBER, don't calculate. ***One of the best to replace the flash card method above for multiplication.
Additional Ideas for Specific Concerns
- Quick Oral Recall of Facts With Difficulty of Taking Written Tests
- This happens very often. Practice the skill of test taking. Try printing above or asking for Fact Quiz Tests and time yourself to complete the whole quiz. Make it a goal to take the quiz over and over again trying to beat your time. Eventually you may be able to complete the quiz in the time you are given. Remember the distance from your brain to your mouth is shorter than the distance from your brain to your finger tips and writing the facts involves more motor skills.
- Get Stuck on a Few Basic Facts and Run Out of Time Taking the Test Leaving Many Problems You Know
- Try skipping the problem(s) you do not know immediately. Go back to these when you finish the quiz.
- Look at the problem in the other direction. (ie. 2 + 8 is the same as 8 + 2 )
- Those TIMES 8s Really Stump Me. Separate the times 8 flash cards from the rest of the stack. Practice them separately from the rest. Create a times 8 test above or ask Mrs. Lockhart for a copy of times 8 only practice quiz. Retake several times until you feel confident.
Weak Strategies Not Recommended:
- Going through the quiz looking for all similar problems on a written test. (ie. all ____ + 1s, ___+ 2s, __ + 5s...) This wastes a great deal of time and will most likely prevent you from finishing.
- Practicing all facts in a stack and placing cards at the back. It will take a great deal of time to get through the large stack of fact cards. If you place a card you do not know in the back, it will take a long time review again.
- Giving extended time to figure out the answer. Although this is good in understanding the operation, it does not help with quick recall. Most students can identify the answer correctly given enough time to process the problem and strategies for the fact skill. Start off giving 3 seconds to identify the answer, giving the correct answer if not identified and have your child repeat the problem and answer. Repeat this problem again in a short period of time. Lesson time to identify the answer for quick recall.
- Memorizing the answers on a test. WOW! That's crazy...Look at the multiplication grid for multiples up to 10. There are 100 problems. Take away the times 0 (everything times zero = 0) and times 1 (everything times one = itself), and you are down to 64 problems. Now take away the turn around facts (2 x 8, 8 x 2) and you are now down to 36 problems. Memorize the remaining doubles (x 2) and times 5 and you are left with 25 problems. Study the remaining squares (3 x 3, 4 x 4...9 x 9) and you are left with 20 facts to study. Now, that's not as bad as you think.
Good Luck!!! Master these facts and your everyday math activities will come more easily.