Quick, what’s 6 X 7? Maybe it took you a second to figure that one out or maybe it sent you into panic mode that you couldn’t remember (or maybe you’re just that smart and knew in 1 second). I know for me there’s a black hole when my 6/7/8 facts are concerned. I’ve been reflecting and having a lot of conversations around math fact fluency. I’ve been sifting through the standards and wondering if they are asking our students to “memorize” facts or state facts from “memory”.

I recently watched this video from Graham Fletcher (who, by the way, is genius when it comes to math concept development ideas). He really got me thinking about mindlessly memorizing vs. from memory. The only place we see in our standards “from memory” is when it comes to adding/subtracting within 20 in 2nd grade (2.OA.B.2) and multiplying/dividing in 3rd grade (3.OA.C.7). And what does that mean “from memory”?

A great resource that has aided in my understanding of the common core standards is the book The Common Core Math Companion (affiliate link). This resource explains “from memory” as a deep conceptual understanding of math facts that is developed through models and work with that facts that causes students to internalize what 6 x 7 (or 5 + 5) actually is and what it means.

This means, if we want our students to know those math facts with automaticity, it’s more effective to engage students in practices that develop conceptual understanding that just timed rote fact fluency.

Here are some simple and effective fact practice ideas that will help your students internalize their math facts. These all would be perfect additions for work stations or centers. Simple, fun, and effective!

If you’d prefer hearing about them, here’s a Facebook live explaining everything you’ll read below…

Math Fact Fluency Activities

Posted by Sparkling in Second on Monday, March 27, 2017

**Addition Math Fact Fluency Activities**

*Domino Sort*

This activity is a combination of subitizing, number recognition, and addition. I put out a tray labeled with numbers 1-12. Then I throw a bunch of dominoes out in the middle and let them sort the dominoes into the tray. I’ll randomly question a student with a domino (“How many are on this side? What about the other? How many is that all together?”). The students are adding and don’t even realize it! I give my students a 120 chart if they cannot match the numbers just yet. We use the 120’s chart to count and see what the digit looks like if needed.

*Matching/Subitizing*

This is activity covers most of the same work that the domino sort does. It can be played as “Memory”, “Go Fish”, or simply matching. Students need to match the number cards to the word cards, finger cards, and subitizing cards. These cards will help reinforce student fluency with number recognition and internalize it for the basis of addition. I honestly cannot remember where I found these, sorry!

*Roll & Add*Grab a dice, roll, pick the column, pick a math fact. Have the students draw a representation of the math fact using a picture. Color or cross it off once they answer it! The added task of drawing a representation helps develop a deeper understanding. Simple & fun! You can find these in my TpT Store.

**Multiplication Math Fact Fluency Activities**

*How Close to 100?*

Arrays arrays arrays. That’s the basis of the game. Students roll two dice and must draw the array. I like to use one or two 12 sided dice to give the option of numbers greater than 6 (affiliate link). Once students draw the array, they then write the multiplication fact down on a running list. The goal is to try and cover the grid paper with as many arrays with little to no grid unfilled. Directions and grid paper can be found HERE.

*Subitizing Flashcards*

Thought subitizing was only for addition? Think again! These subitizing multiplication fact fluency flashcards from Graham Fletcher are GENIUS (and one of my students’ favorite flashcards). As Fletcher says, these ain’t your mama’s flashcards! These get students to think about what they are doing with multiplication, making equal groups. Students are allowed to count or skip count if they can’t think of the product right away. I usually ask them to say the card and the math fact (for example: 3 groups of 5, 3 times 5 is 15).

*Math Cards*

Jo Boaler is the queen of all things math, a professor at Stanford and the leader in educational mathematic reform. If you haven’t read anything from her before, please go treat yourself with her Fluency Without Fear article, it’s where many of these activities I’ve listed are from (sorry for my geeking out tangent). The goal of this activity is to match the cards with the same numerical value, shown in different representations. I usually lay out the numerical answer at the top of a table, then have the students match the other representations underneath. Find these number cards HERE.

*Building Multiplication*

This game requires a deck of cards, manipulatives, and something for students to use for grouping. Students flip two cards and have to create the groups (for example: if they pull 8 and 3, they will build 8 groups of 3). They then have to tell their partner how much that is (if they don’t know they can count it). It would also be great to use unifix-cubes to build arrays that match the cards.

*Roll & Multiply*

Grab a dice, roll, pick the column, pick a math fact. Have the students draw a representation of the math fact (an array or equal groups). Color or cross it off once they answer it! Simple & fun! The added task of representing the math fact helps students create a deeper understanding and internalize these facts. You can find these in my TpT Store.

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Students should be building their fluency deeper, not faster. The more they internalize what they are doing, the easier the facts will come for them. Students should be consistently talking about their own strategies and engaging in conversations about others’ strategies. This will build a deeper understanding of numbers. A good place to start is Math Talks.

For more of these conceptual development tasks, visit youcubed.org!

For more math ideas, visit my Pinterest board!

Allison says

Ok – this post is amazing! I could spend the rest of the day exploring everything you have brought up, including your links to Jo Boaler and Graham Fletcher! Thanks!

Jen says

Thank you! I hope it changes the way you think and teach about fluency and math!