Math facts — The Bump
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Math facts

How does your kid's elementary school handle the teaching/memorization of math facts?

Basically, in what grade do they start this, how much is done in the classroom vs. at home, what methods do they use, and is your child tested on them?  If so, in what manner?  How much emphasis is placed on math facts at your kid's school?

DS's math homework this week has involved memorizing addition and subtraction facts.  When DD was in elementary grades, she didn't start this until 2nd grade.  Just curious what other schools do! 

High School English teacher and mom of 2 kids:

DD, born 9/06/00 -- 12th grade
DS, born 8/25/04 -- 7th grade

Re: Math facts

  • Big emphasis on memorizing math facts in 1st grade, from what I can tell.  They approach is a few different ways - fact families, fact names, fact triangles, two fisted penny, etc..  It makes sense to me as an adult, but sometimes I wonder if DS gets confused by all of the different ways to do it.  I think he's missing the forest through the trees, KWIM?  But, at the same time, I do think it's better than just doing the same thing over and over and hoping it sticks (e.g. flash cards). He works on it at school and at home, but at home it's usually more with math games and 1 worksheet a week.

    We have assessments before each card marking period ends where they see where the kids are with respect to what is required by the state at that point.  

    FWIW, our state changed requirements in 1st grade math and reading this year and DS is doing a lot of what was required in 2nd grade in 1st grade now.  It irritates me since we have such a late cut off.  Kids may not necessarily be ready for this stuff earlier just b/c the state wants them to be.  If they want them to be doing 2nd grade work in 1st grade, then we should have 7-8 y/o's in 1st grade.  Half of his class isn't even 7 yet.  

     

    DS1 age 7, DD age 5 and DS2 born 4/3/12
  • My kids had addition facts in first grade, subtraction in second, multiplication in 3rd, and division in 4th.  They send home math games, packets of worksheets, flash cards, fact triangles, and links to math game websites too. The testing is timed tests (in each grade they're supposed to do a different amount in certain times. I don't remember the details).   

    It seems like the majority of this is expected to be done at home. 

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  • Answering as a teacher since we aren't there yet...

    1st grade- addition and starting subtraction

    2nd grade- subtraction and starting multiplication

    3rd grade- multiplication and starting division

    4th grade-division

    Memorization is focused on at home and the responsibility of the parent and child since there is not enough time thanks to the mile-wide curriculum to fit it in. 

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  • My kids' school is similar to what everyone's posting in the replies.

    When DD was in primary grades, they did all the facts in grade 2.  They were memorized at home but there was a timed test every Friday.  Kids started with addition 0-2.  They had to do 50 facts in 4 minutes with four or fewer errors.  If they passed, they moved on to addition 0-5 the next week, then 0-7, then 0-9, then on to subtraction 0-2 and so forth.  The goal was to get all the way through 0-9 division before the end of the year, but not too many kids made it, according to DD.

    They've now changed the math curriculum so that, supposedly, what was formerly 2nd grade stuff is now 1st grade stuff.  DS's teacher sent home a note that the kids should be working on memorizing addition and subtraction facts.  They seem to be working only on single-digit numbers so far (need to know 2+5=7 but not 7+5=12.)  But there's no assessment as far as I can tell.  

    Spelling has kind of gotten to the same point. There was supposed to be a new list every other week that the kids worked on in class during the previous week.  There was originally a packet of activities with the new week's words that was sent home on Monday.  I haven't seen a word list since Christmas, but he keeps bringing home corrected spelling quizzes with new and different words, sometimes two quizzes a week.  He's getting 10/10 on all of them, so I'm not complaining, but it just seems disorganized to me.

     

    High School English teacher and mom of 2 kids:

    DD, born 9/06/00 -- 12th grade
    DS, born 8/25/04 -- 7th grade
  • We do a fluency practice at school to help the kids become more fluent in their math facts.  This is something new that we have to do this year.  Honestly though, I don't necessarily want my kids to memorize math facts.  I want them to have to go through the process of figuring it out so they'll understand why the answer is what it is.  Eventually they will know the math fact but at the same time they will understand the actual math behind it.
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  • Our district does not teach math facts of ANY kind.  Our districts entire focus is on strategies and multiple ways to solve a problem.  We use a curriculum called Math Investigations.

    This is not intended to sound snarky, although it going to anyway, but teaching math facts is not longer considered best practice in the educational world.  Curriculums that focus on real world applications and criticial thinking skills is where math programs are headed. 

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  • imageoprastr:

    This is not intended to sound snarky, although it going to anyway, but teaching math facts is not longer considered best practice in the educational world.  Curriculums that focus on real world applications and criticial thinking skills is where math programs are headed. 

    Don't get me wrong -- I think it's incredibly important for kids to learn math reasoning and critical thinking.  I also think my kid's school does a great job with this.  I have no complaints about their instruction when it comes to higher order thinking and math. I am fine with doing math facts at home.  Better to do the rote memorization at home and let the teachers do the "real" stuff in school.

    I disagree with completely abandoning memorization of math facts, though.  My daughter has had a much easier time with math in later elementary school and into algebra in middle school because she has a quick and fluent command of math facts.  Yes -- you can use a calculator to get a quick answer to 67 x 251.  But you're not going to pull out a calculator when you are simplifying polynomials and you need to know the GCF of 32 and 40. 

    I am an English teacher, and I have to strike a similar balance between literary analysis, writing, and grammar instruction.  It's hard to defend spending time on grammar exercises when kids need to know how to read critically, draw inferences reliably, and write coherently.  But part of writing coherently IS knowing correct usage and mechanics, so we can't completely abandon teaching this stuff.

    High School English teacher and mom of 2 kids:

    DD, born 9/06/00 -- 12th grade
    DS, born 8/25/04 -- 7th grade
  • I have 2 boys in kindergarten. They started adding single digits right after the holiday break. Mid February they started adding double digit numbers that didn't involve "carrying." And last week they started single digit subtraction. It felt really young to me, but they are loving it and seem really proud of it.
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  • I don't know if my son will end up doing any sort of math facts or memorization in later grades, as he is in Kindergarten now. 

    We have some math related games and such at home (because I buy them), but his school has never sent any home. 

    He does bring home finished worksheets however, and he has become quite proficient at addition (well into double and triple digits), subtraction (I think still in single digits), and they just recently began incorporating multiplication.  I don't know if division will be introduced, before the school yr is out.

    I've been very impressed.  He has gone from being frustrated with the most basic of addition problems to being confident in addition and basic subtraction and now learning multiplication.  I think it's wonderful and can't wait to see how he does/what he learns in 1st grade.

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  • imagejandb2011:

    I don't know if my son will end up doing any sort of math facts or memorization in later grades, as he is in Kindergarten now. 

    We have some math related games and such at home (because I buy them), but his school has never sent any home. 

    He does bring home finished worksheets however, and he has become quite proficient at addition (well into double and triple digits), subtraction (I think still in single digits), and they just recently began incorporating multiplication.  I don't know if division will be introduced, before the school yr is out.

    I've been very impressed.  He has gone from being frustrated with the most basic of addition problems to being confident in addition and basic subtraction and now learning multiplication.  I think it's wonderful and can't wait to see how he does/what he learns in 1st grade.

     

    Multiplication?? In KINDERGARTEN?? That's a bit over the top.

    My kids (in my classroom) practice math facts daily as a part of math instruction. They work at their own pace on addition, subtraction, and multiplication facts. We are starting division (3rd grade).  

    Mrs. 5/03*DD 2/07*DS1 5/09*DS2 7/12
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  • My son is in PreK and they have already started basic math skills.  They use a program called saxon math (i think).  I was kind of surprised at everyone's answers.  I know they just revamped the classroom requirements in Oklahama where we live to inspire more critical thinking starting in Kindergarten.

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