Many teachers have students in their class that don’t know their basic math facts fluently. Counting on their fingers or making hash marks on the page make it difficult and time-consuming to solve simple math problems. Students who struggle with basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts will find higher math frustrating and upsetting. Math fact fluency helps ensure that students don’t get caught up in spending precious learning and testing time grappling with basic math facts.
When students are math fact fluent:
1. Higher math becomes easier for students
When students don’t struggle with basic addition and subtraction or multiplication and division facts, it’s easier for them to learn more complex math problems. They don’t get intimidated or caught up in the basic multiplication attached to multiplying fractions or solving Algebraic equations.
2. Students make fewer mistakes
Higher math requires students to answer a lot of math facts. Solving an algebraic equation can take 10 or more math facts. Adding fractions with unlike denominators can easily require 16 math facts. When students don’t know their basic math facts, they make more errors in basic computation. These mistakes then snowball, leading students to a final answer that’s incorrect. This is frustrating for both students and teachers.
3. Timed tests go faster (and better)
Many state math tests are timed, and that can be stressful for students who are not math fact fluent. Students can get bogged down trying to solve simple math facts, which eats up precious test time, or they make mistakes that lead them to the wrong answer on the test. Frustration can lead students to just give up, even though they do know the overall concepts they’re being tested on.
4. Class time can be spent teaching new concepts
If teachers didn’t have to spend class time drilling students on their math facts, just think what they could accomplish! They could teach higher-level math, and cover all the state standards for their grade. Also, when students are fluent, they are prepared to go deeper into the material presented and are more open to learning new concepts. They aren’t intimidated by all the math facts they have to solve in order to get to an answer.
5. Students feel more confident
When students know their math facts, they’re quick to figure out the answer and raise their hand. Why? They feel confident and smart. They know the answer and they’re proud of it. That confidence translates into better grades and test scores, which just increases their confidence.
6. Students actually like math!
When students are confident, make fewer mistakes, and are open to learning new concepts, they enjoy math class. ExploreLearning Reflex has helped students of all ages and ability levels make great gains by using a fun, individualized game-based approach to developing math fact fluency. After using Reflex, teachers say that their students have shared that they “like math now” or that “math is their favorite subject!”