How to Teach Math Facts to Kids

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  • 0:03 Teaching Math Facts to Kids
  • 1:31 Music and Movement
  • 2:56 Games
  • 4:35 Flashcards and Foldables
  • 5:09 T-Charts
  • 5:40 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Lindsey Pierron
Teaching math facts can be a daunting task. Using a variety of instructional strategies, such as music, movement, games, flashcards, foldables, and T-charts, keeps math practice exciting, thus increasing student motivation and memorization.

Teaching Math Facts to Kids

Math facts are a key component of math fluency. Starting as early as preschool, children are taught basic concepts of addition and subtraction. They use concrete examples to understand and manipulate math facts. As they progress into kindergarten and elementary school, children are expected to memorize all addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts.

Memorizing math facts can be challenging for children. However, teachers and parents can use a combination of activities to teach and reinforce math facts. Facts should be taught sequentially, starting with addition, then subtraction, followed by multiplication, and finally, division. When teaching addition facts, it's best to start with smaller numbers, like zeros and ones, and progress to larger numbers as students increase mastery. Multiplication instruction is slightly different, though. When multiplying, certain numbers are easier to memorize than others. Teachers might start with multiplying by zeros. From there, a teacher might instruct multiplication by ones, twos, fives, and tens. Presenting easier facts first helps students build confidence. Let's take a look at how using a combination of music, movement, games, flashcards, foldables, and T-charts increases student engagement and fact fluency.

Music and Movement

Adding music to any task encourages memorization. When counting strategies and facts are presented in a musical format, they are easier to memorize. Hundreds of songs are available for different types of fact practice. Some songs, particularly multiplication songs, are written to a rhythm designed to teach a certain number of beats. For example, a song to teach multiplying by fours might have a 4-count rhythm. Other songs use familiar tunes, such as 'This Old Man,' and substitute math facts for the words. Incorporating rhythm and music into math fact instruction assists in memorization.

Similar to music, adding movement to teach math facts helps students retain those facts. Skip-counting is a strategy for teaching multiplication, especially while the concept is being introduced. Movement and motions can easily be incorporated into skip-counting activities. For example, when teaching skip-counting by threes, a teacher could have her students clap two beats, then say the third number.

Other movements, such as jumping, can be easily integrated into skip-counting practice. A teacher could place ten rubber dots on the floor, or simply use masking tape to make ten spots. Students hop from one dot to the next, skip-counting by an assigned number.

Games

Games engage students in activities and encourage mastery of skills. Dozens of simple games can be used in math fact instruction. Students can roll two dice, and then add, subtract, multiply, or divide, depending on the skill they are practicing. They can use numbered playing cards in a similar way. Students can get into groups of two, with each player flipping a card over. The first student to say the correct sum, total, or product wins that round.

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