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# How to explain math fact families to third graders?

"I have just begun as a volunteer working with 3rd grade children needing extra help. Math is NOT my strong suit and I have never heard of fact families. I understand the concept but find it difficult to explain---it is so foreign to me.  Any extra help for the 65 year old volunteer going back to school?"

Asked by Judy in commenting on the activity, "Find the Math Fact Family": http://www.education.com/activity/article/Fact_...
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> 60 days ago

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#### Expert

Apr 10, 2010
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### What the Expert Says:

Here's a short response for you.  The definition of "Fact Family is a collection of related addition and subtraction facts, or multiplication and division facts, made from the same numbers. For example, for the numbers 7, 8, and 15, the addition/subtraction fact family consists of 7 + 8 = 15, 8 + 7 = 15, 15 - 8 = 7, 15 - 7 = 8.

Below is a web site that you might find helpful.

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## Additional Answers (3)

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I love math fact families, it makes teaching math especially multiplication so much easier than the traditional way.  I found the best way to teach fact families were to build pyramids.  I would place one number on top of the pyramid, another in the left corner and one in the right corner for example: 2, 5, 7.  Now have the child make the association by writing the equations.  For example: 2 + 5 = 7
5 + 2 = 7
7 - 2 = 5
7 - 5 = 2

See how the numbers connect.  Also right here on education.com, they have an activity to help with this on 3rd grade level.  Do a search in activities for Play Triangle Flash: A Math Game
It is perfect for 3rd grade and it works with fact families to teach multiplication and division.  I think it's wonderful that you are helping at school, enjoy your time with the kids!
> 60 days ago

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writes:
3 ,6,9,12,15
> 60 days ago

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writes:
How is this easier, your applying an old method and just expanding it into something else. The old way is to remember 5+2=7  7-2=5. Why complicate it by plaing into pyramid.
> 60 days ago

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