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Learning math facts can be so difficult! I know that they’ve caused some headaches in this house. But not having a solid grasp on the facts makes new math concepts and subsequent math courses much more difficult.
My girls have struggled in this area and I wanted to find ways to help them without causing frustration. We use flash cards occasionally, but they get bored with them so quickly, and I understand – I don’t like them either! So here are 5 ways we’ve studied math facts – without flashcards.
Addition and Subtraction with Mega Bloksor Legos
I used this method when my girls were younger. First, number each Mega Blok or Lego brick. You can use cute stickers like the ones I found here, or just use tape and a Sharpie for labeling. Then have your child make up addition and subtraction problems using the blocks, building the blocks as they go. Or, you make up a math problem with the blocks, and have your child find the block or brick with the correct answer. You could also use this method with easy multiplication and subtraction problems.
Xtramath.org is a free, interactive program that tests students on their math facts and reinforces those with which they’re struggling. Students are given introductory placement quizzes which allow the program to pinpoint the areas in which the student needs help.
You select which program (addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division, or a combo) and grade level to target, and you receive weekly e-mail updates on your student’s progress. It’s a timed program, and the student has to give answers quickly – if this component adds too much stress, you can lengthen the time allowed to answer.
Writing Facts and Tables
In addition to these other methods, we have our girls write out their times tables, addition facts, etc. on paper or whiteboard when they’re learning new ones or struggling with ones previously learned. The visual aspect of copying them has helped reinforce the teaching they’ve received through other methods. It’s not a high-tech way to learn, but it works, and it’s definitely a step up from flashcards!
Gumball Math Game
I saw a review of the Pop for Addition and Subtraction game awhile back and thought it looked like a fun way to have the girls work on their math facts. It’s a fast moving game – as they answer math facts correctly, they collect “gumball” tokens, but if they draw a Pop card, they lose all tokens and start from scratch.
I used the same concept and made my own version, using a circle punch to make the math fact and Pop! tokens. Since I separated the easier and harder fact tokens, my girls could play the game together, even though they were at different levels. It was a hit!
Playing bingo is a great way to practice math facts. When my girls play this game, they have so much fun that they forget they’re learning. You can get a version such as this one, or print out a free version here.
Does it seem like your child will never learn their math facts? Don’t be discouraged! Just keep working on them consistently and you WILL see improvement. I hope that these methods will help you along the way!
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