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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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