Math Fluency

  • Do Math and You can do ANYTHING!

    Understanding, Accuracy, Fluency

    Fluency in Mathematics 


    Research shows long-term success in mathematics relies on number sense, including fluency with basic facts. SCUC would like to share fluency strategies for families to continue practicing during the summer months. Fluency occurs with efficient and accurate practice using different strategies.


    What are the mathematical progression and understanding?

    Counting Strategies, Reasoning Strategies and Mastery are the three phases through which children typically progress in mastering the basic number computations. Fact strategies are crucial in the second phase.

    • The first phase, counting, is concept learning. The focus here is to understand the meanings of addition and subtraction, (i.e. joining/combining and separating).
    • The second phase is Reasoning Strategy also known as Fact Strategies.  There are clusters of addition and subtraction facts that relate to each other. Understanding them is key to fluency.
    • The third phase, Mastery, is memorization of basic facts. The goal is for students to master sum, differences, multiplication and division, with the ability to recall those processes.


    Three Steps on the Road to Fluency with Basic Facts

    1.    Teach for understanding with models.

    2.    Teach computational strategies.

    3.    Practice, Practice, Practice


    Positive attitude about math

    This begins with a positive attitude about math.  Do you like math or does it make you anxious? Your feelings about math can greatly influence your child’s perception of math. Help your child enjoy math by talking about it in a positive manner. Think out-loud when you are using math skills so your child will hear your thinking process. Let them know that there are multiple ways to solve problems.  It is critical when you interact with your child about math you communicate positive messages.  Let them know math is exciting and anyone can learn with hard work. Success is not about being “smart”.  After all, math is all around us in the world. Teacher made video about Math Mindset.


    Avoid All Tricks

    Tricks are not reasoning strategies.  Mathematical concepts need to be taught and explained to students through mathematical principles. The use of tricks can stop the progression of learning complex concepts and understandings. All tricks at some point down the road will expire. 

    The best way to do this is through conversations on a daily bases expressing math in the real world coupled with playing games and practicing fact.   We have developed a strategies quick reference chart along with posting other activities and manipulativesto this site.  


    Problem solving with real-world math

    Math has evolved from the computation we most likely experienced in math class to an emphasis on problem solving. Computation is important and is used to solve real-life problems. Rose Garden Students Created this video on Problem Solving   Model the importance of math in the real-world and encourage your child to help when you:


    -    Balance your checkbook

    -    Pay bills

    -    Estimate the cost of the groceries in your cart

    -    Determine how much food to buy or make for a party

    -    Double a recipe or cut a recipe in half

    -    Figure the cost of lunch at a restaurant

    -    Calculate the cost of school lunch for the week or month

    -    Determine how long your child will need to save money to buy a particular item

    -    Determine the number of miles driven in X hours

    -    Determine how long it will take to drive home going X mph

    -    Determine how many gallons of gas you can buy with X dollars


    Other Ways to incorporate Math

    • Games build number sense: Play games with your child to reinforce number sense. Try Racko by Hasbro. This game involves putting numbered cards in order from greatest to least. Yahtzee is perfect for working on multiplication facts & reinforcing addition skills. Many fun card & dice games that utilize math skills.

    • Limit the facts to be learned at once.  Sort a stack of flashcards into piles; those that are known automatically and those that are not.  Practice one or two unknown facts at a time along with known facts until they become automatic.

    • Use timers. Each night, give 1, 2 or 3 minutes to answer as many math facts as possible given a sheet of problems or a stack of flashcards.  Chart the number right and celebrate/reward increasing automaticity.

    • Use music.  There are a lot of CD’s and some DVD’s that do this.  One that comes to mind is Schoolhouse Rock. Each Orange has 8 Slices: A Counting Book, by Paul Giganti Jr. or Centipede’s 100 Shoes, by Tony Ross.


    Technology and Talk

    • Download Math Apps to your phone or Ipad for practice anywhere such as Math Evolve by Interaction Education and AAA Math Games. There are Apps on the individual Summer Enrichment Opportunities Document.

    • Play oral math games in the car with your child such as Triangle Math Facts.  Give three numbers from a combination & the child names the associated facts. Example, Adult says, “Three, nine, six.” Child answers,“3+6=9, 6+3=9, 9-6=3 or 9-3=6.”

    • Beat the Calculator is a game where a pair of players competes to see who can answer first.  One player attempts to answer the fact on his/her own before the other finds it on the calculator.

    • Use the senses in combination to fire neurons & imprint memory. (Say & write, listen & repeat, look & say, trace & say, trace & write, sky write & say, choral recitation, move & say, clap it out,etc.)

    • With multiplication and division, practice related facts together. For instance 4 x 8 = 32 so 8 x 8 = 64 because the first factor is doubled, the quotient is also doubled.  (4’s and 8’s; 2’s and 4’s; 3’s and 6’s; 6’s and 12’s; 4’s and 8’s; 3’s and 9’s, etc.)

    • For multiplication, initially using numbered charts, shade in multiples by skip counting followed up by practice chanting only the multiples.  For example: 8, 16, 24, 32, etc.  Progress to calling out a product (36) and asking child what multiple group(s) the number belongs (2, 18, 3, 4, 6, 9, 12.)


    Some websites to help support development of fluency and more ideas: Try these games to play at home with math facts

    Do Math and You can do ANYTHING!

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