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Educational Psychology: Homework Help Resource9 chapters | 275 lessons

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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.

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.

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 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.

In one game, multiplication catch, children can stand in a circle, while one student holds a ball in her hands. She calls out a math fact, and then passes the ball to a classmate of her choice. The classmate answers the math fact. If the student responds correctly, he chooses the next math fact and throws the ball to a different class member. If he responds incorrectly, he must pass the ball back to the original student, who selects someone else to answer the math fact. Group games keep students engaged and alert during math fact practice, which in turn improves fact fluency.

In addition to classroom games, hundreds of computer games have been developed for all types of math fact practice. In today's highly technological society, computer games and iPad apps are excellent tools available for children. Many computer games and activities not only provide students with the opportunity to practice their math facts, but they also collect data regarding which facts students are struggling with. Both classroom and computer games benefit children as they are trying to build fact fluency.

Traditional flashcards and foldables are helpful for math practice. While there are many sets of pre-made flashcards, students can also create their own, which forces them to write the facts down. This provides additional opportunities to practice. Teaching with flashcards is a simple, yet effective instructional practice.

An alternative to flashcards that is similar in nature but requires less paper, is a math fact foldable. Foldables can be designed to teach all different math facts. Take a look at this sample:

In addition to other math fact instructional strategies, T-charts are excellent practice tools. T-charts are simple and can be created on lined paper, sticky notes, whiteboards, or scratch paper. A student simply draws a T on their paper and lists the numbers one through ten. The teacher then lists the operation to be used and tells students what number they will be adding, subtracting, multiplying, or dividing by. Here are two completed T-charts:

Math fact memorization plays a key role in math fluency. It's imperative that children develop fact fluency from an early age. When teaching math facts, there are a number of strategies that can help students retain information, including incorporating music, movement, games, flashcards, foldables, and T-charts into instruction.

Using rhythm and movement simultaneously aids in math fact memorization. Movement can be particularly helpful when teaching skip-counting. Games function to increase engagement and promote memorization in an exciting format. Flashcards, foldables, and T-charts are easy to use and easy to make. They can be used to practice math facts using any operation. As teachers use a combination of these practice strategies, their students will consistently improve their math fact fluency.

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Educational Psychology: Homework Help Resource9 chapters | 275 lessons

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