Q&A #19728

Learning Basic Number Facts

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From: Claire (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: Aug 12, 2008 at 10:34:38
Subject: Re: Learning Basic Number Facts

I've never seen any data on the number of exposures a student needs. In my experience this varies widely and depends on many factors, some individual to the child and others in the educational setting. The latter is the only one we really have any control over. I believe that it's the quality of the exposure that matters more than merely how many times the student "sees" a math fact. The student needs to interact with the fact in some meaningful way, such as using it to solve a problem. It's important when drilling, to get the student to recite the entire fact, not just the sum/product, so that the connection is made among all three numbers. Everyday Math uses Fact Triangles to reinforce this idea: http://communityed.stma.k12.mn.us/curriculum/elementary_curriculum.php Scroll down a bit on the page. I think games are a great way to practice number facts, as long as the game is structured in a way that keeps kids' focused on the math. My favorite games involve some element of strategy as well as memory. I have posted three games here that help in developing computational fluency: http://mathforum.org/~claire/quest/Trentongames.html You can make variations on the "But Who's Adding?" gameboard, as well as multiplication versions. I used to have students make up their own "But Who's Multiplying?" boards when they'd played the adding version and were ready to learn multiplication facts. Designing the boards is a great activity in itself. Our T2T FAQ page contains lots of ideas teachers have suggested for helping students memorize math facts. http://mathforum.org/t2t/faq/ Look under Multiplication, but many ideas will apply to addition as well. I hope this is helpful, if more than you were probably looking for. Please write again if you have more questions. -Claire, for the T2T service

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