So WHY do we need to help our students become fluent in basic math facts?
Math facts fluency leads to higher order mathematics. Through automaticity students free up their working memory and can devoted it to problem 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 insure that our students are fluent in their math facts.
Math fact automaticity affect performance in later elementary grades as students have longer and more complicated computations to complete. At this stage, if a student does not have his/her math facts committed to memory, he/she will spend a lot of time and energy figuring out smaller calculations and risk not having time (or energy) to complete the assignment.
Their performance in math class is not the only academic area that may be negatively affected. Other subjects such as science and geography may be hindered.
Math fact fluency is developed through lots of practice with effective tools and strategies. I have found, and research confirms that Derived Fact Strategies (DFS) are highly effective in increasing math fact fluency.
Derived facts are math facts that are derived from known facts. For example, if we know the doubles fact, 3+3=6, then we can derive the answer to 3+4 by using the 3+3 fact and adding 1 to it. So a derived fact strategy is the mental process of deriving a new fact from a known fact.
These strategies are also called ‘mental math strategies’ and ‘thinking strategies’. They all refer to the cognitive process of deriving new understanding by using known information – higher level thinking!
I have seen seen students transform from discouraged learners to confident learners as they master these strategies! Enjoying math!
I have also seen the flip side. Teachers clinging to the use of timed tests, traditional flash cards, and pushing the responsibility of math fact fluency onto the parents (much to their frustration) – resulting in frustrated students – even tears – and negative experiences in math for years.
Knowing that lots of practice is crucial for students to become ‘automatic’ in their recall of basic facts, I have invested hundreds of hours creating engaging resources to provide students (and teachers) with effective activities that make practice fun!
Here is a game that provides repeated experience with the
DFS (derived fact strategy): “Plus 2”.
It is free in my TpT store.
Just click on the picture to download your copy.
Click on the pictures below to see more resources
to help your students flourish
in their math fact fluency.
If you have not tried teaching the DFS with your students,
I hope you will!
If you do – keep on, keeping on!