What Works To Teach Math?
Let's start with what doesn't 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 55 multiplication facts. There are 91 division facts. That's 301 facts times 120 equals 36,120 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., 2+2 to solve 3+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. eg., magic nine
It is a matter of speed in retrieving a math fact not the ability to memorize that is important.
Basic Strategies
Seven basic strategies for adding and subtracting:
See our basic math strategies page for adding and subtracting.
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 our multiplying page and our division page.
Math Interventions
Math Skills Section — more information, techniques and math interventions.
Teaching Resources for Math — teaching and practice worksheets
Find specific worksheets via our Website Index
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Managing Math
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