The detectives from the TV series “Dragnet” hit the nail on the head when they said, “The facts maam, just the facts.”
That is the key to every young student’s success in math – learning math facts.
It seems that as we have been adding so many different duties, responsibilities, and requirements to our schools and their teachers that the time for learning math facts has been replaced with teaching “how to get along with others” and other such subject matter.
Well, maybe that is a little extreme, but the number one complaint of teachers from Grade 4 and on up is that the students come to them without knowing all of their math facts. Who knows how it happens? It just does.
To make matters worse, teachers at the upper grade levels don’t feel they have the class time available to teach basic math facts, as they are tasked with teaching more advanced math skills and theories. As a result, we have many students who struggle with math simply because they don’t know “the facts”.
Parents, work with your children on their basic math facts. Work on addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Without a strong foundation in the facts a child is doomed to struggle.
Students in Pre-Kindergarten through the second grade should focus on additional and subtraction. Work with these youngsters. Have them count the number of eggs in a carton before you cook breakfast and then have them re-count after they have finished eating. Ask them the difference and show them that they have used subtraction. Continue the lesson by asking if there are enough eggs left for breakfast the next day, assuming that you cook the same number of eggs.
Real life situations make learning more fun and more relevant. The example above is simple but it is effective. It can be used with students of all ages.
Once your student has mastered addition and subtraction, it is time to move on to multiplication and division.
The use of money and its purchasing power is great for teaching older students. Ask a student how many sodas he or she can buy with $5 if sodas are priced at 75cents each. How much change should they get back? This is another simple, yet very effective method of reinforcing math facts.
Students must master math facts in order to be successful in school and in life; this is the number one area in which a parent can help their child.
Additionally, many students struggle with fractions, decimals (percentages), and word problems. These are areas that parents can help their children in as well. However, it will do no good to attempt to help with these if the child has not yet mastered the math facts.
To help your child with math: (1) help them master math facts, (2) use real life, relevant lessons and examples, (3) work with them in the areas of fractions and decimals, and (4) help them to comprehend word problems by helping them to be better readers.
Yes, an improvement in your child’s reading ability will help to improve his or her math scores. Makes sense, doesn’t it? After all, we need the three R’s to be successful: readin’, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic.
Which brings us back to, “just the facts ma’am, just the facts”.