There’s usually more than one way to do anything. For example, let’s say that you and your friend decide to make Lamington. You both know the recipe and ingredients. However, your friend gets to use the electric mixer while you are forced to mix your ingredients by hand. Both cakes end up being delicious, but your process to get there involved frustration. Perhaps you are frustrated enough that you no longer want to make cakes. Not because you don’t like cakes, but because you didn’t like the tool available to you to make the cake.
It's the same with maths
This scenario often happens for students, without cake of course. They understand a concept but not necessarily the elements. The friend that used the “electric mixer” understood the elements, which was there tool. Teaching your child math facts gives them the tool they need to progress with maths. It is the foundation they need to build upon with more advanced concepts.
”The most obvious place to start is by figuring out where the math gaps are. What do your kids know and where are they lacking?"
Why are maths facts usually hard to teach?
The most common difficulty with teaching your student maths facts is that they have not mastered “single digit” maths facts. Without them being committed to memory, it is difficult to progress beyond that point.
Some students may respond well to flashcards, worksheets, or incentives. The results, however, may not be permanent. Many students will forget the same facts once they have a break from school.
"No matter what gaps you find in your kids’ learning, I would encourage you to start with a thorough review of place value. Especially if your child is still finger counting."
Relying on flash cards or worksheets won’t teach your child facts. The student’s desire to learn isn’t enough for them to retain the information.
That "other" category (3.9%) are the students who will work better with extra practice worksheets. Not much!
How to fill in the gaps
Here's some research-proven methods to fill in those gaps with maths, especially for students who flashcards and extra worksheets don't work for (those hands-on learners).
Here's some statistics about the types of learners and why hands-on teaching is not only important, its essential for your student to understand what's being taught.
Hands-on manipulatives are the key
Hands-on manipulatives not only teach place value easily, but they are also used throughout the Math-U-See program to teach everything, from basic addition to advanced algebra, including fractions, decimals and percents.
Here's some easy things you can do with your student:
- Before starting actual fact practice, make sure the student has mastered the block-to-integer correlation. Making the instant connection between the block and the integer while building facts will assist in escalating the memorisation process and build confidence for your student
- Master each numbers maths facts in a sequential order that builds. For example, in Alpha the 9’s and 8’s are mastered directly after 1’s, 2’s, commutative property and solving for the unknown as all of those concepts are connected and build on each other
- Spend time with your student using the Build, Write and Say method. If they are having trouble focusing, keep your teaching sessions brief to maximise attention span.
- When working with your student, remember to celebrate when they know the correct answer and when they don't know. Being optimistic about it and saying “Yeah! We know we don’t know that one!” helps them to acknowledge where they are struggling. And then you know where to provide the extra support they need.
By integrating these simple methods into your maths lesson, whether at home or at school, your student can benefit immensely.
Also, if you want a free online Placement Test to know exactly what they know and what they don't know with maths, you can take that test here:
Hope that helps,
The Team at Maths Australia