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Helping Children Learn Math Facts (page 2)

By — Education.com Member Contribution
Updated on Mar 15, 2011

Examples of Tricks and Strategies from Two Plus Two and Five Times Five

Certain facts and strategies have prerequisites.

Number in the Middle is an addition strategy based on knowing Doubles facts in addition.

The Number in the Middle facts are 1+3, 3+1, 2+4, 4+2, 3+5, 5+3, 4+6, 6+4, 5+7, 7+5, 6+8, 8+6, 7+9, and 9+7.

After your child knows 5+5=10, teach 4+6 and 6+4. Write on paper: 4___ 6. Ask what number comes between 4 and 6. Five is between 4 and 6. Then show with counters when you take one off six items and add it onto the 4 items, you have two groups of five. The addition facts 6+4 and 4+6 both equal 10 because 5 is the Number in the Middle, and 5 + 5 is 10.

Right Next to Each Other introduces 10-9, 9-8, 8-7, 7-6, 6-5, 5-4, 4-3, 3-2, and 2-1. Before teaching this subtraction strategy, children must realize that 10 is next to 9, 9 is next to 8, 8 is next to 7 and so on. When numbers are right next to each other in subtraction, the answer is always one.

Straight Lines is a visual trick.  Of all the numerals: 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9, only 1, 4, and 7 are straight. Children will remember 4+7 =11, 7+4 = 11, 11-4 =7, and 11-7 =4 because of Straight Lines.

Count by 3s introduces 3+6= 9, 6+3= 9, 9-3= 6, and 9-6= 3 with a little rhyme, “Three, six, nine, who do you think is mighty fine?” This also works when teaching 3x3, because you will show with counters that those three groups of 3 are the same as adding 3+6 or 6+3.

Count 5,6,7,8 is a very easy visual trick for 7x8 and 8x7. Write on paper: ___, ___, 7, 8. Ask what numbers come before 7 and 8. They will fill in 5 and 6. Tell them to remember 56 = 7x8 and 8x7 because of the Count 5, 6, 7, 8 trick.

Fact Card Practice

After the first week, divide the growing pack of fact cards into quickly answered and less quickly answered sections. Separate the cards by putting a card labeled Middle on top of the quickly and correctly answered cards. Newest or incorrectly answered facts should stay on top of the Middle section and under your child’s name. Continue to practice daily leaving the quickly answered cards in the Middle section, and newer cards on Top under your child’s name.

This next part may sound confusing, but it really works! During the third week of the program, separate the pack again. Move quickly answered fact cards from the Middle section into a new section called Quick. Do not move newly assigned cards into the Quick section; do not move any cards from the Top part into the Quick section. Practice Quick cards only once a week.

Next, move fact cards answered quickly from the top section into the Middle section. Newest or incorrectly answered cards should stay on top of the Middle section and under your child’s name. Continue to practice Middle and Top facts daily.

Written Practice

Structure written practice with known and new math facts. Use worksheets from Two Plus Two and Five Times Five or you can create your own worksheets by referring to the list of known and taught facts on the record-keeping sheet. Children work with confidence, because we are asking them to answer only known facts.