3 Engaging Ways To Help Students Master Math Facts
Mastering math facts in first grade can be tricky! Learning basic addition and subtraction math facts requires LOTS of practice, but how do you plan for repetition while keeping student engagement? I’m so glad you asked. . . Come along with me as we cover 3 engaging ways to help students master math facts!
Mastering math facts in first grade truly boils down to lots of practice and repetition. No surprise there- I’m sure! But, to make sure your students will actually retain the information they are practicing, we have to make sure we are utilizing methods that don’t get boring! Over the years, I have found a few activities that stand out among the rest and helped my students become math fact masters!
1. Use EnGAGING Center Activities
Using center activities that are engaging and fun for students is a great way to ensure your kids will remember what they are learning. Now, just because activities should be engaging doesn’t mean they need to be complicated. Many of the very best center activities are the simple ones, with easy-to-follow, predictable patterns and directions. These center activities will be less confusing to students and allow for more hands-on learning time!
For mastering basic math facts, I have found Fact Family Triangles to be super effective. These simple cards are quick to prep and easy for students to use independently, making them an excellent candidate for center time. Students will grab a triangle, fill in the fact family, and then switch with a partner to check their work. Adding the partner check is a great way to work in a little extra practice while encouraging classroom teamwork.
Once their work has been checked, students can fill in their fact family on a recording sheet or transfer this information to a math journal. I’m a big fan of using pencils and paper with our center games to further reinforce the skills we are working on. Plus, building up math journals during center time is a great way for students to compile their very own math resource books!
2. CONTINUE TO PRACTICE WITH Task Cards
Another way to work on math fact practice is with task cards. Task cards are great for repetitive practice activities due to the short, condensed format of each card. Having just one equation on the card helps students focus and improve their speed with math facts. There are so many options for task cards, and using a variety of them will help keep your students engaged.
Scoot Task Card Games are a fun way to get your students up out of their seats and shake out some of those wiggles! To play, Scoot Cards will be placed on desks around the room and students will move from card to card after solving each one. Scoot Games often use a timer as well, which helps students improve their speed over time.
This is a great game to use a recording sheet with and then self-grade the sheet as a class. This way students can reflect on their work and make any necessary corrections. Scoot Card games are always a student favorite and provide plenty of engaging math fact practice!
Digital Task Cards are also great if you want to use an activity that’s a bit more self-contained. These are essentially the same concept as the Scoot Game, except students will solve the facts directly on a digital device within Google Slides. This activity is great for an independent center station or morning math warm-ups.
You can even project these Google Slides task cards on the board to use as a group activity. Go through each card together, and have students jot down the equation along with their answer in their math notebooks. This is a great way to save on copies and sneak in some no-prep math fact practice anytime you have a few extra minutes in your day!
3. FOLLOW UP WITH WORKSHEETS For Math Facts
Engaging MAth Fact Pictures
Finally, don’t forget to reinforce math facts with some worksheets. When choosing worksheets for repetitive practice, it’s important to think about what will be fun and engaging for your students. While some math worksheets can get pretty boring, “color by code” always seems to grab students’ attention!
Color By Number Activities are great because, with a simple theme switch, you have a brand new activity! This means you can use them all year long to coordinate with any time of the school year. Back To School Color By Number is perfect for the start of school while warmer months call for Summer Themed Color By Number worksheets. Find engaging Addition and Subtraction Color by Code Activities for many seasons and holidays in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.
Students will enjoy revealing the “secret picture” in these worksheets and get lots of math fact practice without even knowing it. Best of all, these no-prep worksheets make the perfect activity for fast-finishers, Fun Fridays, and even homework!
Seasonal Math Fact Fluency Practice
If you’re looking for another way to make math facts even more fun and engaging, I have just the thing for you! If you teach in a primary classroom, you probably already know that sometimes students need more than just self-motivation when it comes to skills mastery. This is where incentives come in!
Using an incentive program with worksheets or booklets is a great way to motivate students to master their math facts. My favorite incentive programs are the ones that can be used throughout the year to create routine and familiarity with the system in our classroom. I have found that when students know what to expect, things run more smoothly and they learn much more! Implementing a Math Facts Fluency Incentive System to use throughout the year can help make mastering math facts fun and exciting for your students!
The all-in-one system I like for this includes a monthly practice booklet that can be used for both practice and timed tests, student progress trackers, and a fun incentive system for students to keep track of their math facts. Using a monthly practice book with the student progress trackers will allow your students to see their progression over time and continually work towards improvement.
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USE VARIETY FOR SUCCESS with MATH FACTs
Above all, I find it’s most helpful to include a variety of resources when practicing math facts. Using a combination of task cards, games, worksheets, incentives, and centers is the perfect blend of activities to help your students become master fact masters and avoid burnout!
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SAVE THESE IDEAS FOR LATER
Don’t forget to save these ideas on your favorite classroom Pinterest board! Have fun learning with your students!