3 Tips to Build Math Fact Fluency

3 Tips to Build Math Fact Fluency

 

WHY do we need to help our students become fluent in basic math facts?  And HOW can do that?  I am so glad you asked!  I will be answering those two questions for us!

Let’s start with the WHY:

 

“Math facts fluency leads to higher order mathematics.  Through automaticity students free up their working memory and can devote it to problems solving and learning new concepts and skills (Geary, 1994).

Quite simply, a lack of fluency in basic math facts will significantly hinder a child’s subsequent progress in problem-solving, algebra, and higher order math concepts.  Math fact fluency not only affects our students’ future success in math, but also in science and geography.

For these, and probably a zillion more, the Common Core Standards require us to teach Math Fact Fluency:

1OA  Understand and apply properties of operations and the relationship between addition and subtraction.

1OA.3. Apply properties of operations as strategies to add and subtract.3 Examples: If 8 + 3 = 11 is known, then 3 + 8 = 11 is also known. (Commutative property of addition.) To add 2 + 6 + 4, the second two numbers can be added to make a ten, so 2 + 6 + 4 = 2 + 10 = 12. (Associative property of addition.)

1OA.4  Understand subtraction as an unknown-addend problem. For example, subtract 10 – 8 by finding the number that makes 10 when added to 8.

1OA.5 Add and subtract within 20.1OA.6  Add and subtract within 20, demonstrating fluency for addition and subtraction within 10. Use strategies such as counting on; making ten (e.g., 8 + 6 = 8 + 2 + 4 = 10 + 4 = 14); decomposing a number leading to a ten (e.g., 13 – 4 = 13 – 3 – 1 = 10 – 1 = 9); using the relationship between addition and subtraction (e.g., knowing that 8 + 4 = 12, one knows 12 – 8 = 4); and creating equivalent but easier or known sums.

2OA.2  Add and subtract within 20.  Fluently add and subtract within 20 using mental strategies.2 By end of Grade 2, know from memory all sums of two one-digit numbers.

3.2 NBT  Fluently add and subtract within 1000 using strategies and algorithms based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction.

So we know the WHY – let’s talk about the HOW!

Here are 3 Tips to make math fact fluency teaching and practice more effective for your students.

Addition and Subtraction Facts

Tip #1: Teach the Mental Math Strategies

I had a huge ‘aha’ moment years ago, when I had moved from teaching kindergarteners for years to 2nd grade. The students were taking a timed math facts test so I could assess their level of mastery, and I thought I should know how long it would take me to complete the page of math facts.  So I took it.  I was amazed at how I was thinking as I was answering – I did not have many of the facts memorized, but I was using the mental math strategies to derive the answers!  WOW!  and I was super fast. Even though I did not have them memorized, I understood the relationships, so I knew the answer almost ‘automatically’!

And of course, research bears this out – students who are taught mental math strategies are quicker in computing than students who are taught to just ‘memorize it’.

I created and use these anchor posters to teach and reinforce the mental math strategies.  They are also helpful to put on your classroom walls for students to quickly refer to as they are doing math.

Increase math fact fluency in addition and subtraction by teaching the mental math strategies.

Addition and Subtraction Facts

Tip #2: Daily Practice – 10-15 Minutes a Day

“To build math fact fluency, the most effective strategy is to give students 10-15 minutes per day to practice using what are called derived facts strategies (DFS).  Essentially, DSF’s are using facts you know to solve facts you don’t know.”  Sam Strother, Associate Director Developing Mathematical Thinking Institute.

Don’t you love that term- Derived Facts Strategies because it describes the process?  We derive from what we know. . .  to a new fact.  As teachers we MUST make time in our already packed day to provide this 10-15 minutes practice per day.  Gone are the days when we can tell the parents to teach it at home.  Most parents don’t have the time, or the mathematical understanding to teach using Mental Math Strategies – or DSF.  Read Strategies that Increase Math Fact Fluency to learn more about Derived Facts.

Addition and Subtraction Facts

Tip #3: Use Engaging Activities

We know from experience and research that students learn best when they feel safe and are engaged in a fun activity – enter math games, student goal setting, and cooperative learning activities!

All of the following activities use these 3 tips and are:

  1. Based on the Mental Math Strategies
  2. Take 10-15 minutes per day
  3. Super engaging!

Engaging Theme

Students love the superhero theme!  Most of the resources in this bundle us these engaging graphics to captivate your students attention from the start!  You will find these cute and engaging Super Hero graphics in most of these Addition and Subtraction Fluency Resources.  Tell your kids that mental math strategies are their super powers in math!

Engaging Games

Your students will enjoy playing these engaging Super Hero games with their friends and becoming more fluent in their addition math facts in the process! Learning. Games provide a fun, not-threatening opportunity for students to get the needed practice to become fluent in their math facts.

Your students will enjoy playing these engaging Super Hero games with their friends and becoming more fluent in their addition and subtraction math facts in the process! Learning Games provide a fun, not-threatening opportunity for students to get the needed practice to become fluent in their math facts.

They will be engaged and having fun. You will not have any papers to grade! Sounds like a WIN WIN!  There is a GAME and mini POSTER for each of the following mental math addition strategies mentioned above.

Games are perfect for whole group, small group, partner work or math centers!  Having the rules and strategy illustrated and defined for each game makes them the perfect choice for independent work.
Increase math fact fluency in addition and subtraction by teaching the mental math strategies.
Addition and Subtraction Facts Games

Engaging Partner Activities

‘Fast as a Flash’  

Your students will indeed become fast as a flash with this super engaging and motivating activity!  Once your students learn the routine, they will increase their math fact fluency in less than 10 minutes a day!  And you will have NO PAPERS TO GRADE!

Primary Math Fact Automaticacy
Partner Quiz with Flash Cards
Here is another engaging activity that your student will want to do and ASK you to let them play!  Once you have the cards printed and cut, there is no further preparation!  Just pass the cards out and watch your students enjoying practicing!  And you will have NO papers to grade!
The cards use the Part/Part/Whole Model, so your students will be becoming familiar with the relationship between addition and subtraction!
Read Make Lessons Interactive with Partner Quiz to see how easy and effective this activity is.
Click on the picture below to get all these engaging activities and more in this complete program.
It has everything you need to help your students master their addition and subtraction facts!
It’s never too late for your students to master these facts!

I have been using these engaging activities in my classroom for years and I know from experience that my students got ‘Fast as a Flash’ with addition and subtraction math facts.

I hope you are inspired with these 3 tips!

  1. Teach the Mental Math Strategies
  2. Practice 10-15 minutes each day
  3. Use Engaging Activities

Try one of the games that will help you implement all 3 tips:  1) It uses the mental math strategy, “Count On +2”. 2)Provides great 10-15 minute practice. 3) super engaging! 

Get the Game

Your students will enjoy playing this engaging game with their friends and becoming more fluent in their addition math facts in the process!

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Improve math fact fluency among your students with these three tips. Find links to fun games and activities your elementary students are sure to enjoy, plus math strategy posters to serve as reminders and a few free games! {freebie, 1st, 2nd, 3rd grade} #teacher #teacherspayteachers #homeschool #students #additionfacts
Improve math fact fluency among your students with these three tips. Find links to fun games and activities your elementary students are sure to enjoy, plus math strategy posters to serve as reminders and a few free games! {freebie, 1st, 2nd, 3rd grade} #teacher #teacherspayteachers #homeschool #students #additionfacts

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12 Comments

  • Laura Schachter September 21, 2014 at 9:49 am

    This was an amazing post! Thank you so much for sharing!!
    Laura

  • Peggy Means September 21, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    Thank you, Laura, that is very encouraging!

  • Jill Myers February 24, 2015 at 11:58 pm

    Hello, I am trying to access the 11 games you listed to help develop math fact fluency, but when I click on the picture it takes me to writing tips instead. Can you ehlp me find the math games please? Thank you for sharing.

  • Peggy Means February 25, 2015 at 12:52 am

    Hi, Jill, I am so sorry the link is not taking you directly to the games!
    Here is the link: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Math-Fact-Fluency-Addition-Games-1446333
    I now have subtraction games, posters, and partner activities available.

  • Aditya Patel March 20, 2015 at 11:29 am

    Great post. Worthy information for sure and a good beneficial one for readers.
    Buy Instagram likes and followers

  • Peggy Means April 27, 2015 at 1:18 am

    Thank you, Aditya! I am delighted to hear that this was helpful!

  • JB August 16, 2015 at 11:11 am

    Any chance you will make a multiplication/division one?

  • Peggy Means August 16, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    Hi JB, Thank you for asking – I worked an multiplication/division over the summer! I think you will like them!

    Multiplication/Division Resources

    Happy Teaching!

  • Mrs. Bartel October 13, 2015 at 11:04 pm

    What a great post! And your activities are amazing. Just what my first graders need.
    Alyce

  • Peggy Means November 13, 2015 at 9:08 pm

    I am so delighted to hear that these activities are helpful to your firsties!

    Keep Flourishing!

  • Stacy September 11, 2019 at 2:34 pm

    I would really love the anchor posters you created. Is there a way to just get those? I just started teaching math interventions and would love to have them in my room as my kids struggle with math facts a lot!

  • Peggy Means September 19, 2019 at 10:34 pm
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    Welcome

    My name is Peggy Means. I am a child of God and a retired elementary teacher. I loved teaching and creating engaging resources for my students. Now, I love sharing my resources and ideas with busy teachers around the world.

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