• Math Fact Fluency                           

    Fact Fluency Handout


    Students need to develop number sense and have opportunities to apply efficient strategies to manipulate numbers.

    Math Fact Fluency is flexibly and efficiently using strategies.


    To develop fluency, students need: 

    • conceptual understanding beginning with concrete manipulatives
    • opportunities to notice patterns or make connections
    • opportunities for to share their ideas or thinking (Number Talks)
    • questioning by the teacher (How did you think about that?  What do you notice? Did anyone think of it in a different way?  How do you know?)
    • repetitive routines to safely practice  flexibility and accuracy with numbers
    • Reflect and record their own progress with applying strategies
     More articles for reference about math facts:
    Developing Automaticity by Math Coachs' Corner

    Number Bonds (part part whole)

    Number bonds are way to show both the part to whole and the whole to part method of learning about how numbers relate to each other. We want our students to instinctively realize that now matter how a number is broken up, it will always remain the same.

    Being able to "make a 10" is also a critical component of mentally manipulating numbers. When considering a problem like 37 + n = 45, this can be quickly solved by realizing that:

    • 37 = 30 + 7
    • I know that 7+ 3 = 10 so 37 + 3 = 40
    • 40 + 5 = 45
    • I added a 3 and a 5, so n = 8

    That type of thinking an problem solving is not unusual for a 7 year old child who is proficient with math facts, and it starts with using number bonds.


    You may be thinking that is too simple to be worth spending time on. Try it. You will be surprised at how many of your students do not understand what it really means to make a 10.

    A game I like to play with Number Bonds that really helps with mastering math facts is called Roll A Bond.

    • All you need is one large dice and a whiteboard (or SmartBoard) with a blank number bond drawn on it. Put the number 10 in the middle circle, and tell the students that you are going to make a number bond that equals 10.
    • Roll the dice, and whatever number comes up, it goes into the top circle. The students then have to decide what number goes in the bottom circle to complete the bond.

    You will be shocked at how many cannot do this, especially if you thought they understood their math facts.

    Try giving each child their own whiteboard and having them do the numberbonds with you. Plenty of them will add the two numbers together instead of conceptualizing the whole to part.

    I ended up taking three hula hoops one year to add in a more kinesthetic approach. I took 10 students at a time and rolled the dice. 4 of them moved into one hula hoop and the other 6 crowded into the other. Then we got back together as a group of 10, I rolled the dice again, and we split into two pairs again. It really took 4 rounds of this moving in variations of 10 before many of them finally got it. But it sure did pay off in future lessons!

    You can always differentiate by creating number bonds up to 20 or 100 - just keep them in multiples of 10, and only do this after the students have had many opportunities to become proficient within the concept of making a 10.

    The same strategies are applied for multiplication and division. 

    Here are some ideas to place it on your school playground. 

    Math Timed Tests and Drillsno timed test

    When we have students practice math facts, it is much more than memorizing math facts and being fast.  Drill type worksheets with lots of random problems don't help students be more fluent.

    It is about developing strategies to flexibly and efficiently solve basic computations. Each student needs to explore strategies and share their thinking so this process gains automaticity.

    Students must have regular, daily routines and practice with noticing and sharing their strategies in a safe environment. 

    Students should view these daily practices more like math games and celebrate learning from each other or sharing their thinking.

    The problem with rote work comes when it is used exclusively for teaching math facts. Research shows that overemphasizing memorization and frequently administering timed tests is actually counter-productive (National Research Council, 2001).

    Math Games

    Fun math games for kids of all ages.  Math facts games and puzzles prove to students that math is fun!  They build students' self efficacy and confidence!

    Kids are fascinated with numbers. Elementary math games for kids are quick and easy to use, plus they capture the inquisitive minds of students.


    Sites to practice and support:

    Fluency Practice 
    KNOW the CONCEPT first, then play games for fluency and automaticity! 
    Math Fact Fluency resource page
    Xtramath (Now we can connect through Clever! Email Jane to ask how!)
    Math Games and Quizzes by grade or topic