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Memorizing Math Facts


Ravin
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I'm starting to think we need to put a hold on DD's progress through her math text and focus on memorizing her addition facts. She's grasping what we're doing now (adding columns of numbers and adding a number below 10 to a larger one), but still has a tendency to add by counting up, often starting from zero, which is a bit tedious when she's adding to a larger number.

 

But, even with the few math facts she's got down, she doesn't seem to grasp the advantage of having them memorized so you can just spit out an answer. So simple drill with practice problems (oral or written) and flash cards don't help; she still counts up.

 

Any ideas for helping her move from counting up to add?

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I started out working from the bottom (0+0) and adding to it. It just wasn't clicking. So, then I started working on different groupings. Sums to 10 (and playing go to the dump over and over and over), doubles, adding 10, etc.... She does a math facts page everyday, and she still counts for some..... But she is gradually incorporating the ones she knows. Yesterday, after seeing her use her fingers, I pointed out.... Again.... That 9 plus a number is one less than 10 plus a number.... That finally clicked. There are so many strategies that I think it just takes them lots of practice to really incorporate them.

 

We use: Math Mammoth math facts page everyday, right start card games, I-phone math fact game, sum swamp, Quartermile Math etc... Flashcards weren't working, but doing them over and over in different ways (especially the electronic games where speed is an asset) seems to be making headway.

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We're using One-Minute Math. DD7 is in Singapore Math 2A, but we're just going back to the beginning. It starts with numbers + 0, then gradually goes up. As soon as she can finish a page in under a minute, we go on to the next page. The beginning of the book she could finish easily in under 30 seconds per page. :) We're just going to build up until we really have all the facts down cold.

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I only have a minute, but what worked for my DD (who I have been struggling with) is this book:

http://www.amazon.com/Plus-Methods-Learn-Addition-Subtraction/dp/0977732304/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1284469830&sr=8-1

and incentive. I got an american girl game thing for her that she has been coveting. I told her she could have it when she memorized her facts (it cost me $10). She is VERY close to doing just that. It took her 2 weeks. She is coming to me several times a day with her flashcards wanting to do them. I think she'll have it down by the end of the week!

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I'm starting to think we need to put a hold on DD's progress through her math text and focus on memorizing her addition facts. She's grasping what we're doing now (adding columns of numbers and adding a number below 10 to a larger one), but still has a tendency to add by counting up, often starting from zero, which is a bit tedious when she's adding to a larger number.

 

But, even with the few math facts she's got down, she doesn't seem to grasp the advantage of having them memorized so you can just spit out an answer. So simple drill with practice problems (oral or written) and flash cards don't help; she still counts up.

 

Any ideas for helping her move from counting up to add?

 

Here's a help for the "starting at zero" problem. When she adds something like 2+6, teach her to start with the bigger number and count up from there. So start with 6 and count up from there. If she puts up 2 fingers and counts from 6, it will be a lot quicker. She does need to memorize addition facts, but this can keep her from getting frustrated and taking all day when she can't remember an answer.

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copywork

 

Have her copy math facts 3x each saying them aloud as she copies them. Then, have her complete a short math drill over all those facts that she has used as copywork. Only do a few copywork things each week. The drill will get longer, but the copywork will not.

 

Don't hover or fret. You will know she is remembering instead of counting when her speed drill begins to take considerably less time.:)

 

HTH-

Mandy

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Here's a help for the "starting at zero" problem. When she adds something like 2+6, teach her to start with the bigger number and count up from there. So start with 6 and count up from there. If she puts up 2 fingers and counts from 6, it will be a lot quicker. She does need to memorize addition facts, but this can keep her from getting frustrated and taking all day when she can't remember an answer.

 

Yes, this. She needs to learn how to "count on" to a number. I'd look first at how strong her counting skills are. Say a number and have her say what comes next. Start with small numbers (under 5 probably!) and then move on in stages (up to 10, up to 20 - remembering that eventually you want her to be able to say the next number no matter what number you give her). We used to do this a lot in the car. (As a side note, we did the same kind of thing with the number before a number as well, then what was two less than a number, or two more, or ten more or ten less - going up and down easily by tens is important.) This is a normal phase, similar to how with the alphabet kids and even adults will often have to sing part or all of the alphabet song to themselves to figure out what letter comes next or which comes first in the alphabet. The more practice she has playing around with numbers and working on their order, the easier it will be for her to count on no matter what number you give her.

 

When she can easily tell you the next number, start phrasing them as addition problems. Have her add one to a number (8+1, 4+1, etc.) starting at the larger number. Then switch the problems around (1+8, 1+4) to make sure she gets the idea of starting with the larger number. Then once she gets that, move to counting on with larger numbers.

 

Once she can count on, practice, practice, practice will help her memorize them. Flashcards are great, but so are games. Dice games are great for learning up to 6+6 for immediacy. Then there are lots of card games available that work on these facts. Zeus on the Loose is good once kids kind of get them but don't have the speed. It's a summing game where you're adding numbers 0-9 on to a cumulative sum as you head to 100. Kids usually like it because you keep trying to Zeus as you go. We also play it backwards from 100 down to 0 to practice subtraction. Have you played war? Play two-card war - each player flips two cards and adds the total (or multiplies later on). A variety of games like that really help.

 

Good luck!

Edited by Sun
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copywork

 

Have her copy math facts 3x each saying them aloud as she copies them. Then, have her complete a short math drill over all those facts that she has used as copywork. Only do a few copywork things each week. The drill will get longer, but the copywork will not.

 

Don't hover or fret. You will know she is remembering instead of counting when her speed drill begins to take considerably less time.:)

 

HTH-

Mandy

 

We do math facts copywork also.

 

But I must say that today in the world of math facts at our house we have been "Nibbled to Death by Ducks," as SWB calls it. I know that this will work over time, bit by bit, but in the meantime, I would like to scream.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

 

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

That was my yell of frustration. And now back to polite and patient teaching.

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Here's a help for the "starting at zero" problem. When she adds something like 2+6, teach her to start with the bigger number and count up from there. So start with 6 and count up from there. If she puts up 2 fingers and counts from 6, it will be a lot quicker. She does need to memorize addition facts, but this can keep her from getting frustrated and taking all day when she can't remember an answer.

 

I've tried to get her to count up from the larger number, but she always starts from zero anyway.

 

We've been focusing on addition, but she does the same thing with subtraction--using a number line, she can count down to subtract, but doesn't grok "difference" as a shortcut when the numbers are close to each other.

 

She absolutely refuses to work with any manipulatives we have, either, even though she still seems to be at a very concrete level--she doesn't always use her fingers, but is still doing the counting in her head.

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I've tried to get her to count up from the larger number, but she always starts from zero anyway.

 

We've been focusing on addition, but she does the same thing with subtraction--using a number line, she can count down to subtract, but doesn't grok "difference" as a shortcut when the numbers are close to each other.

 

She absolutely refuses to work with any manipulatives we have, either, even though she still seems to be at a very concrete level--she doesn't always use her fingers, but is still doing the counting in her head.

 

I would halt forward momentum at this point, too, then, and focus on math facts for as long as it takes. I did that with my DD1 not too long ago and a couple of weeks focusing just on counting, adding, and subtracting did wonders.

 

I think it's good to remember that at this point it's best to know it- really know it then to rush forward. At least that's what I keep telling myself. ;)

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We're using One-Minute Math. DD7 is in Singapore Math 2A, but we're just going back to the beginning. It starts with numbers + 0, then gradually goes up. As soon as she can finish a page in under a minute, we go on to the next page. The beginning of the book she could finish easily in under 30 seconds per page. :) We're just going to build up until we really have all the facts down cold.

 

Would you mind sharing about how many problems are on a page? I've been thinking about starting something similar to this with ds6 but don't know how many is appropriate for him to do in a 1 minute.

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I would halt forward momentum at this point, too, then, and focus on math facts for as long as it takes. I did that with my DD1 not too long ago and a couple of weeks focusing just on counting, adding, and subtracting did wonders.

 

I think it's good to remember that at this point it's best to know it- really know it then to rush forward. At least that's what I keep telling myself. ;)

 

:iagree: I had to do this with DD last year. It took us a couple of months, but with online drill, several daily worksheets, copywork, and me orally quizzing (so I could be sure of instant recall) she finally got to a point where we could go back to the curriculum. I did keep a chart and provided incentives for memorizing so much of the chart. Guess what? She zoomed through it and still finished by the end of the year! All that memorizing really does help. I wish I had done the same with DS at that age.

 

Shannon

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Okay, so yesterday I took the oral addition quiz in the first chapter of her textbook and gave it to her on a three minute timer. The goal is to be able to do all 100 problems in that time. I skipped the harder ones, just giving her the easiest to start, and told her if she couldn't answer quickly, just say "skip". She answered 27 of them.

 

She seems amenable to doing this daily, with the goal of beating the score the day before. We're going to do this in addition to continuing at whatever pace she seems able with what we're working on in the next chapter.

 

It also won't surprise me if it takes a while--her enthusiasm and progress in reading has been picking up rapidly, and I've noticed before that when she's focusing on one area, she resists progress in others.

 

Thanks for all the suggestions.

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Okay, so yesterday I took the oral addition quiz in the first chapter of her textbook and gave it to her on a three minute timer. The goal is to be able to do all 100 problems in that time. I skipped the harder ones, just giving her the easiest to start, and told her if she couldn't answer quickly, just say "skip". She answered 27 of them.

 

She seems amenable to doing this daily, with the goal of beating the score the day before. We're going to do this in addition to continuing at whatever pace she seems able with what we're working on in the next chapter.

 

It also won't surprise me if it takes a while--her enthusiasm and progress in reading has been picking up rapidly, and I've noticed before that when she's focusing on one area, she resists progress in others.

 

Thanks for all the suggestions.

 

 

You could set a reward when she gets all 100- for my DD a new book was the perfect motivator. :tongue_smilie:

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Two tools that helped my DD make the shift from counting up to adding were a base ten abacus (ten wires, ten beads per wire) and a pair of dice. We used the abacus to practice "making ten" and practiced adding by rolling the dice and combining the pips. Both seemed to encourage flexibility with thinking about numbers as quantities in themselves rather than points on the number line.

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