Friday, February 24, 2017

Practice Your Math Facts

Why do students need to learn their math facts, or what is now known as math fluency?

Math fact fluency refers to the ability to recall the basic facts of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division quickly and accurately. This enables students to retrieve facts from long term memory with little or no effort. By doing so, it frees up room in their working memory so that they can learn new concepts and skills, and problem solve more easily.  Unfortunately, a lack of math fact fluency hinders a child’s progress with problem solving, algebra, and higher level math concepts. If a student has to spend time with basic facts, it is harder to stay focused on math processes and often a student will get lost.

Math facts are the building blocks for learning the next level in mathematics and part of NCTM (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics) standards as well as Common Core standards.  Math anxiety starts when children fall behind in math. In order to avoid math anxiety in later years, students in elementary school need to learn their basic math facts so that they will be ready to learn higher level concepts. The number of steps in these higher level problems necessitates that students know their facts quickly so as not to spend extra time recalculating facts. Math educators agree that students need to have addition and subtraction facts mastered by 3rd grade, and multiplication and division by 5th grade. So there is one thing you can do – work with your student on math facts. 

Each day in school we work on math facts. We focus on using computer programs such as XtraMath, Greg Tang, and other games that are found on our classroom homepage. During our guided math activities, we practice facts by playing partner games like 10-Pin Limbo, Base Ten Bag, and incremental rehearsals (flash cards).  All of these ideas will help your student in all areas of math. Please encourage your student to PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE math facts, not only during the school year, but during school breaks as well. 

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