Math facts are important. It’s something that will be used all throughout life and it’s not only important that students know them, but knowing them fluently really helps. While first and foremost students need to understand the concepts of the basic operations, there’s comes a point when memorization becomes part of the process. But learning math facts and developing math fact fluency doesn’t have to mean hours of flashcards or writing out the facts. Here’s some fun and engaging ways to help your students master their math facts.
Importance of Knowing Your Math Facts
During my time as a classroom teacher (and as a mom) I have witnessed first hand the complications and headaches that a child endures when they don’t know their basic facts. As students progress to higher levels, seemingly simple actions become time consuming when basic math facts are not known. In everyday life, a calculator becomes a crutch for things that basic facts could quickly solve.
As educators we know that basic facts are the building blocks for a student’s math journey. Being fluent in their facts sets them up for success in all future math endeavors.
Just think for a second of everything that is to come…solving for a missing variable, finding common denominators, making change and other money skills, and the list goes on and on. As elementary teachers it is our job to make sure our students are ready for what is to come. It is one of the MOST important foundational skills.
Helping Our Students Master Math Facts
Helping our students master their math facts is an important part of elementary math instructions. But how do we do this? How do we make practicing math facts fun? How can we keep them engaged and help them with this memorization process.
As both a teacher and a mom, I’ve tried many different activities to help kids learn their math facts. I have some great tried and true methods for you to use in your classroom to help ALL students. These activities are both rigorous and engaging. Your students will have so much fun they won’t even realize they are mastering their math facts along the way.
4 Fun and Engaging Ways to Practice Math Facts
1. Roll the Dice
Have your kids partner up and give each pair some dice with an answer sheet. Each student will roll one die and then either add, subtract, multiply or divide their numbers together!
I like to add in some non-traditional dice to increase the challenge. Some of my favorites for this are a 10 and 12 sided die so students can practice all of the available facts.
If you want to bump the activity up a notch you can create timed games for fluency or accuracy! The kids will love it.
2. Dominos to the Rescue
Have students draw a domino and then use the numbers on each side to form a math fact. Students can complete the math fact and then write out the entire fact family.
If you are doing a review or general practice, have students draw one domino and use it for all the facts they know. Let’s say your students know addition, subtraction and multiplication. If they draw the domino pictured above they could say: 6 + 5 = 11; 6 – 5 = 1; 6 x 5 = 30.
Students can also use dominos with a partner and make a speed game to see who can write or say the math fact the fastest. It’s a great way to keep the kids engaged and practice those important skills.
3. Building Math Facts
Who doesn’t love building towers and then knocking them down? This activity not only helps with learning math facts but it also reinforces the underlying concepts.
Have students draw a flashcard and then use blocks to build a tower that represents the math fact. This is a great hands-on activity that can really help visual learners or those struggling with the underlying concepts.
Wooden blocks, LEGOs and even place value blocks are all great options. If you don’t blocks available any hands-on manipulative could also work well.
4. Math Fact Mystery Pictures
Last, but definitely not least, is one of my FAVORITE math fact practice activities. These digital mystery pictures are so engaging students beg for more. Like literally begging! When’s the last time your students begged for math practice?
Each of these digital mystery pictures is a Google Sheets activity. That means you can add it as a math center in the classroom using a computer or tablet or assign it digitally through Google Classroom or another online learning system.
In each activity, students solve 40-60 basic math facts. As students enter a correct answer pixels from the mystery picture automatically appear. If an incorrect answer is entered, the answer turns red. This self-correcting feature makes this a great independent activity for your students.
Check out this math fact mystery picture in action:
Fun – right?!? As I started creating these new math fact mystery pictures I had my high schooler test them out. He loved them and would ask for more! There’s something about starting with a blank picture and revealing the image pixel by pixel that is really engaging!
Here’s just a few of the fun and engaging digital mystery pictures you can share with your students:
Grab Your Math Fact Mystery Pictures
You can find math fact mystery pictures for all the basic math facts. Each operation has progressive activities that help students with small groups of facts. The sets build and provide students with multiple opportunities to practice all the math facts. Each operation also includes a variety of review activities where all the math facts are mixed up.
The feedback from these digital mystery pictures has been amazing. It was clear that students really loved using these digital mystery pictures to practice math facts. Since this is a skill that kids practice all.year.long I decided to put together seasonal mystery pictures that would be great for a year long review!
Save these Math Fact Ideas!
Pin this to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so you can come back when you need ideas for helping your kids master their math facts.