Math fact fluency mastery is one of the biggest challenges teachers face when it comes to students and math. It is a crucial skill for all students to master and yet so many students fall short. Thanks to the Lucky Little Learners Facebook Community, here are 35 fool-proof and practical ways to help students master their math facts.
Before we jump into the list of activities, you can check out this video training of math fact fluency activities that I use in the classroom.
1-LEARN STRATEGIES FIRST
It’s essential that students are learning their strategies before trying to memorize the facts. Strategies such as doubles, doubles +1 and +2, make a ten, adding 1, adding 2, adding 0, etc. are all strategies that, once learned, help students to add their facts more quickly.
“XtraMath is a free web program for teachers, students, and parents. It includes videos that explain everything. The website has student activities, individualized log ins, progress monitoring, and more.” -Cassondra K.
It sounds complicated but it’s not. Subitizing is being able to glance quickly at a set of objects and recognize it as a number. When students are able to subtilize they no longer have to use one to one correspondence to count out and add objects. Groups of objects for subitizing can come in many forms: ten frames, fingers, dice, dominoes, base ten blocks and more. In effort to make subitizing hands-on, fun and highly effective, I created an engaging Subitizing activity.
Download Subitizing Toothy HERE
4-DECK OF CARDS
Simple. Grab a deck of cards. Lay down two numbers. Add them together. Nothing fancy and yet still effective. If you want to add variety do doubles, making ten, addition/subtraction war, double digit, or even add three numbers.
“Students love Kahoot. This game can be played one on one or as a team. Electronic devices such as iPads, phones, or computers are needed. Players see the displayed math fact, solve, and provide answer on their device. The correct answer is displayed on Kahoot after the timer expires (or once all students have submitted their answers). The quicker a student correctly answers a question, the more points the student receives. Pre-made Kahoot games are available for free on the website.”
If you are a teacher, don’t place ALL the responsibility on yourself when it comes to getting students to master their math facts. Send these ideas home for parents to try with their child(ren). Make it fun. Add a challenge spin to it. Get them involved.
Keep sets of flash cards on rings around the classroom. When students have completed their work, they can quiz a partner. Need flashcards? Download below!
Download Math Fact Fluency Sticks HERE
When students have a math notebook, they have a portfolio of math practice and learning that they can refer back to. These are also great for parent teacher conferences. I especially love using math notebooks for students to reflect and write about their learning. When a student has to provide a written explanation of how they solved a math problem, the learning becomes richer and more qualitative. These are available for both first grade and second grade.
Lay out a “timed test” sheet on each desk. The students do as many as they can until the music stops then they rotate to the next sheet. It gives the slower students a sense of accomplishment since it’s “everyone’s” paper not just theirs but there is a lower stress level even though they are doing it as fast as they can.
Moby Max is a website for students to practice their math facts. The primary reason that Moby Math is so effective is because students do not waste time practicing material they have already mastered. Instead, Moby targets areas where students are struggling and allows students to progress immediately once mastery is achieved. There is a free trial period for this website.
The Smart Cookie app is $1.99 but worth the money. The player fills a cookie jar one cookie at a time by successfully completing each math level. To complete each level, the player must answer thirty math problems within two and a half minutes. This sequential program gradually increases in difficulty as the student passes each level. Smart Cookie Math includes two modes for play: timed & practice mode.
Each partner gets a Toothy mat and dry erase marker. Students will take turns choosing a card. Each student who is playing the game will solve the problem on their Toothy mat or dry erase board. When all who are playing have answered the question, they compare their answers and then turn the card over to check to see if their answer is correct. Those who have a correct answer get to draw a tooth in Toothy’s mouth on their mat. If the student’s answer is incorrect, they do not draw a tooth and those who got the answer correct must explain how they got to the correct answer. Then the next student draws the next card and the process is repeated. The game is over once all 27 cards have been answered. The student with the most teeth in Toothy’s mouth is the winner of the game.
2 Ways to Get Toothy
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13-MATH FACT CLUB
Math Fact Clubs can be a fun option to get students motivated to answer their math facts correctly and quickly. Typically this is done with a timer and sheet of math facts. Students have a goal time to meet. Once achieved, the student moves on to the next level with an end goal/level in mind that is appropriate for that specific age. These are often held over in the mornings, during recess, or after school.
Ten Marks is a web based program that includes a free trial. Whether your instructional model is direct to whole class, blended, or small group, TenMarks Math is customizable to meet a variety of needs. It can be tailored to any scope and sequence and is designed to help reach every student on his or her unique learning pathway.
15-SHUT THE BOX
At the start of the game all levers or tiles are up and showing the numerals 1 to 9. During the game, each player plays in turn. A player begins his or her turn by throwing or rolling the die or dice into the box. If 1 is the only tile still open, the player may roll only one die. Otherwise, the player must roll both dice. After throwing, the player adds up the pips (dots) on the dice and then “shuts” (closes, covers) one of any combination of open numbers that equals the total number of dots showing on the dice. The player then rolls the dice again, aiming to shut more numbers. The player continues throwing the dice and shutting numbers until reaching a point at which, given the results produced by the dice, the player cannot shut any more numbers. At that point, the player scores the sum of the numbers that are still uncovered. Play then passes to the next player. After every player has taken a turn, the player with the lowest score wins. Here’s my affiliate link for Shut the Box. -Julie L.
16-AROUND THE WORLD
This classic activity involves the students sitting down at their desk/table. The teacher stands in front of the class with a stack of math facts. One students stands up next to another student. The teacher shows the two students a math fact card. The student to answer the math fact correctly and first gets to move on to the next person. The goal is to quickly and correctly answer as many math facts first and continue to “travel around the world”. The rest of the class watches and solves the math facts in their head so they are prepared when it is their turn. -Tessa S.
17-SMART BOARDING SCHOOL
Smart Boarding School is a free website of over a thousand, high quality, educational resources that can add depth to any primary school lesson and can be used on interactive whiteboards or computers. Skills are broken down into categories and age ranges.
18-ICE CREAM SUNDAES
Set goals with your students when it comes to their math fact mastery. Maybe it’s the number of minutes of practice at home or maybe it’s a number of levels passed in the classroom. You know what’s best for your classroom. As students achieve those goals, they earn pieces for their ice cream sundae party. Talk about motivation! -Jamie K.
Number talks should be a crucial part of a primary classroom. They are daily conversations that are centralized around talking about how to solve a math problem that is provided by the teacher. Number talks clarify thinking, investigate and apply mathematical relationships. build a variety of strategies within students’ repertoire, and more. You can pick up your Number Talks Guide from my affiliate link HERE.
Picture this. There are 2 rows of students lined up with the teacher placed at the front with a deck of math fact flash cards. The student at the front of each line are shown a flashcard. The student to solve it correctly and the quickest gets to stay at the front of the line as “royalty”. Then the next person is challenged. The goal is to stay as “royalty” as long as possible. -Bri M.
Math centers is a great option for classrooms. They allow for teachers to meet with small groups of students to work on a target math skill. While the teacher is working with a small group of students, the rest of the class is practicing math skills through a variety of hands on, engaging, and effective math activities. You can grab your 1st grade and 2nd grade math centers here.
Drill Donuts is a fun and effective activity for your students to play. It’s best to have this video explain the concept. So fun!
23-TICKET TO PASS
Ticket to pass is a practical and quick option to use with students. Carry a deck of flashcards and when students leave the line to go to recess, lunch, music, gym, etc they have to solve the math fact in the teacher’s hand before leaving the line. A correct answer provides them with their ticket to pass.
Freckle Math is a web based program where students are given the opportunity to practice their math facts and other skills. There are over 5 million students using Freckle. Freckle Math has over 30,000+ math questions and 500+ ELA articles each at 5 different reading levels, covering all K-8 standards. Students start off with a diagnostic, and their algorithms show them problems exactly at their skill level. This ensures students are always engaged and challenged, never facing material that is too difficult for too easy for them.
Math Puzzles are a great option for your early finishers, math centers, enrichment opportunities, morning work, or even intervention groups. Each puzzle focuses on a math skill. There are 10 pieces to each puzzle. Each puzzle piece has a math problem for the student to solve. Then the student assembles the puzzle by putting their pieces in order from least to greatest. Math puzzles also come with a student checklist. Each puzzle has a title in the upper right hand corner. This is an easy way for the student to identify the puzzle on his/her checklist.
Download Math Puzzles HERE
26-READ ABOUT MATH
Read about math? Yes! Students love books and my favorite author when it comes to math books is Greg Tang. He has written books such as Math for All Seasons, The Grapes of Math, Math Potatoes, and many more! Check out his website and resources!
Yes, a simple tool like dice can be another great way to practice math fact fluency. Grab two dice, roll, and solve. Start with the dice with dots. (This is where subitizing practice comes into effect.) Once the dot dice become easy, transition to number dice. Then add three dice together. Then combine the number dice and make 2-digit and 3-digit numbers. The possibilities are endless.
Task Cards are a fun activity that you can do with your whole class or as a small group center. It will get your students up and moving from desk to desk while they solve math problems. This activity can be used as a review, practice, or even assessment. Place one task card on each desk. Each student will need a record sheet. Students will start at their own desk. They need to find the answer on the task card. Then the teacher says, “Scoot” and at that point the students need to move to the next desk to solve that task card. The activity will continue until all the task cards have been solved by each student. Another variation of this game is to hang them around the classroom and have your students walk around the room with a recording sheet and clipboard. I have also used scoot games as a small group center activity and we put the scoot cards in the middle of the group and each student takes a turn drawing a card, solving, and recording the answer on the recording sheet.
29-MATH FACTS IN A FLASH
If you have Renaissance Learning you have the option of using Math Facts in a Flash with your students. MathFacts in a Flash is a computer software program that allows teachers to give students, at all levels, essential practice on their addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts.
Join over 70,000 teachers already using Splash Math in their classrooms. Splash Math is a free (with the option of a paid upgrade) website for students to practice their math skills through interactive game that reward and motivate students to learn. Students will get coins for each correct answer and redeem coins for virtual pets. Students explore the world of math in a Jungle, Candy or a Space theme. Splash Math can be played on a device of your student’s choice – iPad, iPhone or desktop.
Give each students a piece of paper and tell them to write a math fact on it. Crumple the paper into a “snowball” and on the count of three they throw their “snowball” across the classroom. Students then find one “snowball” to pick up and solve. Then they write another math fact, crumple, and repeat. It gets them up and moving too! -Steph P.
32-PASS THE PENCIL
Two students each have their own math sheet whether it’s addition, subtraction, or mixed, there is only one pencil. One student starts solving problems while the other is rolling 2 dice to add to get a number (chosen by the teacher before the game starts). Once the 1 student rolls whatever number they are looking for, the other other student passes the pencil and the roles switch. -Ashly M.
Student rolls 2 dice and adds the numbers. Student can stop and freeze the total anytime but their turn is over for that round if they choose to stop and freeze the total. If the student rolls a one ( or any predetermined number) they lose all their points for that round. If they froze your points when the one is rolled they keep them. The first person to 50 or predetermined number wins. -Angel P.
Partners are given number cards. Each player lays 1 card at the same time. The player that can add them the fastest gets both number cards. Partners keep playing until time is up or one player has earned all of the cards. -Pam O.
Sticky Math is not your old fashioned time test! This resource allows each student to work at their own pace. They will not be racing to finish the whole sheet, just trying to beat their personal best! It is a must have!
Download Sticky Math HERE
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