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The Importance of Mastering Math Facts

Practicing math facts is an ongoing lesson in the primary classroom. As with many other topics, practice makes progress! I believe in creating many opportunities to learn addition and subtraction facts so that children can practice over and over again in different ways. If you’re looking for new ways to weave math facts into your daily lessons, you’re in the right place!

Mastering math facts in first grade will help set up students for success throughout their school career.

Why Are Math Facts So Important?

In the primary years of learning, students are truly laying the foundation for long-term success. This is true when it comes to math facts! When students master their math facts, they are preparing themselves for what’s to come in higher education. Basic addition and subtraction facts are the building blocks of more complicated math lessons to come!

When students know these facts fluently or without hesitation, we can ensure a higher level of success in future lessons. Another great reason to make sure your kiddos know their math facts is to promote self-confidence and independence. Just as we see with mastering sight words, math facts boost self-esteem in young learners as they work through math lessons. Being able to quickly identify the answers to simple math facts will reinforce a feeling of success in your students!

When it comes to mastering addition and subtraction facts, we all know that repetitive practice is key! But just doing the same things over and over can get pretty boring right? The key to making this process fun is variety. Ready to get started? Here are four fun and engaging activities I recommend for mastering math facts!

1. Math Fact Family Triangles

First up, I love using fact family activities like these Fact Family Triangles. These math fact cards are easy to use and help to illustrate fact families to students. I recommend laminating these so they can be used over and over. These are the perfect resource to assign as a partner activity during center time.

To use, students will grab a triangle, fill in the fact family, and then switch with a partner to check their work. Using a partner to check is a great way to work in a little extra practice while encouraging classroom community and teamwork. After the cards have been checked, students can fill in their facts once more on the recording sheet.

You can also have students write down the math facts in a math journal to create their own go-to resource for checking their work. This extra step of writing the facts down a second time, whether on the recording sheet or in their journals is a great way to squeeze in another opportunity to make those facts stick!

2. Digital Math Facts

I have yet to meet a student that didn’t love digital learning activities. Digital activities like these Fact Families Google Slides are perfect for when you need to switch things up a little and present the math facts in a new way. This activity is great for classroom technology centers as well as early finishers! Don’t forget – digital activities are also perfect for projecting on the board and completing during whole class lessons too!

Learning math facts with digital Google Slides is fun.

The use of technology and the game-like feel will have your students totally engaged. This makes them perfect for independent centers. The audio directions and interactive, drag-and-drop features make these slides super kid friendly!

Another great option for digital math facts activities is to use them as a whole group review. To do this, simply project the slides on your screen or smart board. You can model strategies, introduce the activity, or just provide some extra practice time when you have a couple of spare moments.

3. Math Facts Incentive Program

One of the best ways to encourage children to master their math facts is through the use of some kind of incentive program. In my classroom, I was a big fan of having children work towards a pizza or ice cream party. Students love the extra incentive and it makes learning math facts more fun. To help take the extra planning out of the equation, I have just the thing!

Give students rewards for Learning math facts.

This Math Facts Incentive System is a one-stop-shop for everything you need to practice, test, assess and incentivize math practice! This resource uses flashcards, practice pages, timed tests, and incentive systems to motivate students to master addition and subtraction facts.

Students will use the flashcards and practice pages to work on learning each fact family. When it’s time to test, teachers can assign specific math fact pages depending on skill level. Once students master a fact family, they will color in a topping on their “pizza” or “ice cream sundae” page. Teachers can decide if they’d like to have an actual party to celebrate or encourage children to fill up their treat pages. Either way, this system is a great way to motivate students!

4. Color By Code

Using coloring pages is one of my favorite ways to help children master addition and subtraction facts.

Learning math facts with color coded pages.

These Color by Code Pages come in handy. They are especially great on days when children seem restless or need a break from other activities. They are also perfect anytime you need to switch things up.

When I was still in the classroom, I loved using color-by-code pages as a way to transition back to learning after lunch or recess. This activity was a great way to calm them down and get those brains back into learning mode.

These color-by-code pages offer opportunities for students to practice addition, subtraction, and a mix of both. I’ve found that starting with a focus on either addition or subtraction and then moving on to the mixed pages is a wonderful way to cement those facts in students’ minds.

The best thing about color-by-code activities is that they can be used all year long. I loved to incorporate thematic pages. These are great to match the current season or holiday to keep these math fact practice pages exciting!

Make Your Own Plan For Mastering Math Facts

Helping our students master math facts doesn’t have to include boring drill and kill. In fact, over the years I’ve found that some variety works even better. So add some variety to your daily math blog and watch your students soar. Here are a few options to get you started:

Help your students develop math fact fluency with this incentive program.
Your students will love working on math facts with these color by code activities
Your students will love these digital math fact practices.

If you’d like to check out any of the activities mentioned in this post, you can find them all in my TpT Shop.


Don’t forget to pin this post on your classroom Pinterest board so you’ll have all of these fun math activities at your fingertips!

Mastering math facts in first grade will set your students up for success in the future. With these fun and engaging activities, your first graders will not only learn and master their math facts, but have fun at the same time. From digital activities to partnered activities, you are sure to find exactly what your students need to feel successful as they practice their math facts this year. #funtimesinfirst #mathfacts #masteringmathfacts #firstgrademath


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