# Best resources for solidifying addition and subtraction facts?

## Recommended Posts

DS is entering 4th grade and really needs to master the basic addition and subtraction facts. He has the hardest time grasping that these can be memorized. Is there anything you love for making this happen?

##### Share on other sites

We have that trouble too.

Has he been tested for maybe any kind of learning delay?

We have those here, and it makes it tough.

Is he in ps? Or are you homeschooling? We hm.SCH. ours

##### Share on other sites

We like XtraMath

It's free and online https://xtramath.org/#/home/index

##### Share on other sites

If he hasn't mastered them just from repetition and practice, I agree with Kat w that something else might be going on.

What happens if you just work on memorizing one math fact per day? Does that make it more manageable for him?

##### Share on other sites

Have you tried quizlet?  There are already set of cards made and then you can add them to your account and use the games that test the facts?  Just a thought

##### Share on other sites

If you're not looking at a learning delay or disability, it might depend on what type of learner your child is, as to what will "click" for that student.

You might go for something that is a visual/story method which tends to quickly/easily stick in long term memory. Something like Addition the Fun Way. And later on for multiplication, Times Tales the Fun Way or Times Tales.

Another helpful route that covers both addition and subtraction is triangle flashcards, which reduces the amount of "math facts" to be learned by 75% by showing relationship between 3 numbers to show 4 math facts in one card. But more importantly, triangle flashcards show connections between the functions of addition and subtraction -- and they show the connection between 3 specific numbers as a "math family" for addition and subtraction. Example:

â€¦â€¦â€¦8

â€¦..3â€¦.â€¦5

For this triangle card:

- if you cover the 8, you get the two addition math facts of 3+5= 8 -- and -- 5+3= 8

- if you cover the 5, you get the subtraction fact of 8-3= 5 (or algebra-type equation of 3+5=8)

- if you cover the 3, you get the subtraction fact of 8-5= (or algebra-type equation of 5+3=8)

Some students do better with auditory math fact songs or chants, like these Youtube addition songs or subtraction songs.

And some students need a "reason" for math facts -- usually games that require adding and subtracting and the faster you are the better you do is a big incentive. Things like the computer game of Number Munchers, or the Right Start card games, or card or board games like Snap It Up, Shut the Box, Muggins Knock Out, Free Parking, etc.

Lots of creative ideas for math facts in this past thread: "Looking for fun, creative ways to teach math facts". BEST of luck in finding what clicks best for your students! Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
##### Share on other sites

We homeschool. If he has a learning delay, I think it's only showing up in math as he seems on track with other things....oh, except spelling. Is it possible to have a learning delay that just affects those subjects? I'm not too knowledgable in this area. And how would we go about getting him tested?

It is nice to know there is something like Times Tales for addition. He actually knows his multiplication facts reasonably well due to that book!

Reflex Math

##### Share on other sites

We homeschool. If he has a learning delay, I think it's only showing up in math as he seems on track with other things....oh, except spelling. Is it possible to have a learning delay that just affects those subjects? I'm not too knowledgable in this area. And how would we go about getting him tested?

DS#2 here had very similar issues -- struggles with writing, spelling, and math (esp. abstract math topics, but not geometry or very visual math concepts). For him, it turned out to be a combination of borderline dyslexia (probably very mild "stealth dyslexia"), and being an extremely visual-spatial learner. So, he needed visual and hands-on methods of instruction / taking in information, and he processed that information in a "right brain hemisphere" manner:

- connected with that which was concrete (not abstract) -- so, visual and hands-on very key

- took in information in random order (non sequential)

- made sense of what he took in through whole-to-parts (intuitively saw the pattern or big picture first and then later would see the details that made up the big picture)

Spelling is an extremely sequential activity -- each letter must come in a specific, left-to-right order. A visual-spatial learner sees all the letters at once and not in any particular order, so spelling is difficult. They are often very weak at taking in things via auditory learning, so practicing spelling by combining out loud spelling with a tactile activity such as the child using a finger to draw each letter big on the table top as that letter is spoken by the child strengthens the weak auditory and weak sequential processing by saying/hearing each letter one at a time, and couples it with the child's strength of visual/hands-on.

Another strong spelling practice method for highly visual-spatial children is to use color and drawings/mini-stories -- somewhat similar to the Times Tales method for multiplication facts. See Dianne Craft's ideas for details on this method. (BTW, her Writing 8s exercise on that page was very helpful for our DS, even though we did not discover and implement it until DS was in his mid-teens.)

For testing for a learning delay or learning disability, you might first check into your public school system; often, homeschoolers can get free testing. For more info on getting a full neuro testing, you might private message WTM board member OhElizabeth, who has loads of helpful info on testing. :)

Edited by Lori D.
##### Share on other sites

We homeschool. If he has a learning delay, I think it's only showing up in math as he seems on track with other things....oh, except spelling. Is it possible to have a learning delay that just affects those subjects? I'm not too knowledgable in this area. And how would we go about getting him tested?

It is nice to know there is something like Times Tales for addition. He actually knows his multiplication facts reasonably well due to that book!

We homeschool too and yes it is possible to only show up in math.

For some kids it's reading, for some writing, for some math.

How is he at memorizing the phenomenons when you break them down isolated, like not attached to a word?

Could be a number of learning delays go cause this.

##### Share on other sites

DS#2 here had very similar issues -- struggles with writing, spelling, and math (esp. abstract math topics, but not geometry or very visual math concepts). For him, it turned out to be a combination of borderline dyslexia (probably very mild "stealth dyslexia"), and being an extremely visual-spatial learner. So, he needed visual and hands-on methods of instruction / taking in information, and he processed that information in a "right brain hemisphere" manner:

- connected with that which was concrete (not abstract) -- so, visual and hands-on very key

- took in information in random order (non sequential)

- made sense of what he took in through whole-to-parts (intuitively saw the pattern or big picture first and then later would see the details that made up the big picture)

Spelling is an extremely sequential activity -- each letter must come in a specific, left-to-right order. A visual-spatial learner sees all the letters at once and not in any particular order, so spelling is difficult. They are often very weak at taking in things via auditory learning, so practicing spelling by combining out loud spelling with a tactile activity such as the child using a finger to draw each letter big on the table top as that letter is spoken by the child strengthens the weak auditory and weak sequential processing by saying/hearing each letter one at a time, and couples it with the child's strength of visual/hands-on.

Another strong spelling practice method for highly visual-spatial children is to use color and drawings/mini-stories -- somewhat similar to the Times Tales method for multiplication facts. See Dianne Craft's ideas for details on this method. (BTW, her Writing 8s exercise on that page was very helpful for our DS, even though we did not discover and implement it until DS was in his mid-teens.)

For testing for a learning delay or learning disability, you might first check into your public school system; often, homeschoolers can get free testing. For more info on getting a full neuro testing, you might private message WTM board member OhElizabeth, who has loads of helpful info on testing. :)

Oh you can tag! Hoe do you do that. I've wanted to do that with her too lol

##### Share on other sites

We homeschool. If he has a learning delay, I think it's only showing up in math as he seems on track with other things....oh, except spelling. Is it possible to have a learning delay that just affects those subjects? I'm not too knowledgable in this area. And how would we go about getting him tested?

It is nice to know there is something like Times Tales for addition. He actually knows his multiplication facts reasonably well due to that book!

You could call your pediatrician and see who they recommend . a nueropshyc is who you'll be looking for your starting place.

##### Share on other sites

Addition Facts That Stick by Kate Snow. Her blog is:

http://kateshomeschoolmath.com/

##### Share on other sites

1) Another vote for Extra Math.
--dd9 does 20min/day
--The default is for 3 seconds/fact, which is considered "mastery."  I STRONGLY SUGGEST that you (as the parent) go into the controls and reset them for the 6-seconds/fact setting.  Dd completed all the math facts at 6 second, and is now up to subtraction at 3 seconds.
--Your child will cycle through 6-10 miscellaneous math facts at a time.  If he doesn't know any of them, this can be overwhelming.  I tell dd to just pick two of the highlighted facts and try to remember them when they come up to pass out of them.
--Be aware (and warn your child) that when they get near the end of passing out of all 100 facts in a section, the program will run them through the facts one. more. time.
--We go out for ice cream whenever dd passes out of another level.

2) We also use your standard set of discount store flash cards for daily 3 minute practice.  It is part of math lesson for us instead of fact worksheets.
--It is only 3 minutes.
--If dd is stuck on a problem, I can help her count up to it.
--I record how many dd does in a session so she can see her progress.  This encourages her.
--There are many high-fives on the first day that she can do the whole stack (~50 cards) in the 3 minute time period. I have done this with MANY kids, and it is always a thrill!

ETA: After a few days, demonstrate to your son that it CAN be done in 3 minutes.  Set the timer; YOU hold the cards; and solve the facts as fast as you can.  Whenever I do this for kids the first time, their eyes get wide that it can be done in a minute or less.  It makes an impact.

Edited by duckens

Reflexmath

##### Share on other sites

What about a counting abacus?  Either one with 10 beads per row or maybe a soroban where each row represents 5 units.

##### Share on other sites

Factors to consider, remembering that "your mileage may vary":

Fourth grade math is hard. There are a lot of new ideas, or old ideas that come together in a new way, in fourth grade math. Whenever children (or humans in general) wrestle with new things like that, their minds naturally tend to glitch out on earlier concepts. In upper elementary school, they make silly addition mistakes. In middle school they make silly addition and multiplication mistakes. In high school, the silly mistakes expand to include fractions. And calculus students always make silly algebra mistakes.

Memory aids can hurt. When the mind is juggling so many concepts (see point above), do you really want to add an extra weight of "remember the cute math fact story"? Human brains, like camel backs, may give out when overloaded.

Memory tends to fail at the most inconvenient time. Like on a test, or in the middle of a long division problem. Therefore, even more important than memorizing facts, we need to give our kids tools for figuring out the things they forget. So judge your options and make decisions primarily based on whether the tool (flashcards, abacus, phone app, or whatever) strengthens your son's ability to reason things out when memory fails him.

Thinking strategies can help. Teach your son mental math strategies that will work with all sorts of numbers, not just the elementary math facts. That will give him a stronger foundation to master whatever his math program throws at him this school year. For specific examples of the most useful strategies at his level, check out my Profound Understanding blog posts:

##### Share on other sites

We do xtramath. We've also done wrapups

##### Share on other sites

If you're not looking at a learning delay or disability, it might depend on what type of learner your child is, as to what will "click" for that student.

You might go for something that is a visual/story method which tends to quickly/easily stick in long term memory. Something like Addition the Fun Way. And later on for multiplication, Times Tales the Fun Way or Times Tales.

Another helpful route that covers both addition and subtraction is triangle flashcards, which reduces the amount of "math facts" to be learned by 75% by showing relationship between 3 numbers to show 4 math facts in one card. But more importantly, triangle flashcards show connections between the functions of addition and subtraction -- and they show the connection between 3 specific numbers as a "math family" for addition and subtraction. Example:

â€¦â€¦â€¦8

â€¦..3â€¦.â€¦5

For this triangle card:

- if you cover the 8, you get the two addition math facts of 3+5= 8 -- and -- 5+3= 8

- if you cover the 5, you get the subtraction fact of 8-3= 5 (or algebra-type equation of 3+5=8)

- if you cover the 3, you get the subtraction fact of 8-5= 3 (or algebra-type equation of 5+3=8)

Some students do better with auditory math fact songs or chants, like these Youtube

or
.

And some students need a "reason" for math facts -- usually games that require adding and subtracting and the faster you are the better you do is a big incentive. Things like the computer game of Number Munchers, or the Right Start card games, or card or board games like Snap It Up, Shut the Box, Muggins Knock Out, Free Parking, etc.

Lots of creative ideas for math facts in this past thread: "Looking for fun, creative ways to teach math facts". BEST of luck in finding what clicks best for your students! Warmest regards, Lori D.

Lori,

The way you presented the triangle cards and the algebraic way if learning math facts....I think *hope* will help my son. At least some.

He loves fact families. Will do then for fun.

He loves doing the missing factors.

And the triangle method I haven't put alot of effort into , some, not alot.I'm going to try it.

And really, I'm thinking the algebraic method just may help some.

He just cannot remember any math facts.

Thanks for taking the time to post this.:)

And ha-ha...I love the ...dog: PhD in retrieving. Made me chuckle :)

Edited by Kat w

## Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

Only 75 emoji are allowed.