Students who do not master math facts will likely have increasing difficulty in math as they progress through the grades. Math in the higher grades involves higher order algorithms that require multiple steps. Lack of automatic recall of math facts will slow efforts at problem solution and produce errors.
Here are some ways to ensure that students master math facts.
- Teach only a few facts at a time. Introducing too many facts at once will overtax students` ability to remember the facts.
- Students should learn facts to the point of automaticity. There should be no hesitation in their recall.
- Provide speed drills to increase students` fluency. Students should be encouraged to respond as quickly as possible without thinking.
- Provide cumulative practice. As students learn new facts, previously learned facts should be reinforced.
- Math facts are important but are certainly not exciting. Practice sessions should be intensive but no more than several minutes in length.