What Works To Teach Math?
Let's start with what work for a struggling student — MEMORIZING.
I was once told by a learning specialist that to memorize one fact, a student would have to repeat it 120 times. There are 55 addition facts. There are 100 subtraction facts. There are 66 multiplication facts. There are 111 division facts. That's 332 facts times 120 equals 39,840 memory steps to mastering basic math facts if you reply on memory alone.
What does work to teach Math
- showing the student the system involved in math. This is how you will teach multiplying and dividing.
- use known facts to teach unknown facts. eg., 3+2 and 2+2
- giving students a strategy or 'tool' to deal with math facts. eg., math ladder
- use 'tricks' or techniques instead of hoping they will eventually memorize the math fact. magic nine
It is a matter of speed in retrieving a math fact not the ability to memorize that is important.
Seven basic strategies for adding and subtracting:
- Count up
- Count down
- Magic nine
- Math ladder
- Related fact
Four basic strategies for multiplying and dividing:
- Use doubles
- Use halves
- Count by 5s — for multiplying and dividing
- Magic nine — for multiplying and dividing
See the Math Skills Section for more information, techniques and math interventions.
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