I’ve never made a big deal out of teaching addition facts. I think it’s more important for a child to understand addition than to be able to spout out the facts. And addition facts seem to have been relatively easy for my older 2 children to memorize. They don’t still count on their fingers, so they must be doing ok. Right?
Well, maybe. I wouldn’t call it a regret because that sounds a little too strong. But I do wish I had spent a little bit of time working on computational speed with my older children. It’s both useful and good training for the brain. However, I can’t go back and change that. But lucky for me, I do have the opportunity to apply what I’ve learned teaching my older children when I teach my younger ones.
My daughter Lizzie is starting the first grade. Last year she worked through a good discovery based math curriculum and has a good understanding of addition and subtraction. Since she has a good understanding of how addition works, it’s the perfect time to do some extra work really cementing the facts into her head. (I still think that understanding should come first before drill.) I received a great resource for doing just that.
Addition Teaching and Learning Made Easy is from Math Made Easy. The program begins by teaching all the math facts that include 0 and 1. This is a very brief section. The rest of program consists of 6 weeks of daily lessons and practice on the remaining 36 simple addition facts. Each week, 6 different facts are studied. The 6 facts are grouped randomly, not in fact families or groups. The main purpose of this program is getting the facts memorized. By not grouping the facts together, it enables the brain to truly memorize the individual facts, rather than deriving them from other known facts.
For example, if you are studying 8+5=13 and are given the problem 8+6, it is easy to figure out the answer is 14 from knowing the first problem. While this is definitely a good thing for the student to be able to do (and demonstrates mathematical understanding), it doesn’t actually help memorize the new fact 8+6=14.
Addition Made Easy spends five days on each set of 6 facts. There are a wide variety of worksheets in the book. Many of them include coloring (which is a big hit with Lizzie!). Also included are several games and flashcards. It’s a great way to focus on getting the addition facts thoroughly memorized before moving on to more complicated arithmetic.
By Kristen H.