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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 9:56 am 
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I have noticed recently that my children are not great on instant recall of addition facts. The older one (just going in to year 4) is strong on multiplication and division facts though. Thinking about it, it's probably because effort has been put into learning division and multiplication facts but on the addition facts they used "manipulatives" (number lines, counters, number squares, fingers for counting on) for a very long time, and there was never any concerted efforts to learn addition facts.

I was looking at Big Maths by Andrell Education and they have a system where they teach instant recall of number facts in a systematic way from reception onwards. I picked out the addition facts (about 39 of them in all) and tried to work out which both my children had "at their fingertips". It's a surprisingly small proportion. It's likely to be worse for subtraction facts. Furthermore my DD who is end of year 1 does not know all the facts that this scheme expects all children to know by the end of year 1 (by a long chalk).

Of course this doesn't mean that they can't understand new concepts (in fact both DDs are well above nationally expected levels in maths), but it means that whenever they do a calculation there is a significant mental load going into doing the basics. It's got to make maths (without a calculator) harder, and more boring in the long run.

So I've decided that one of the best things I can do with them at this stage is to help them memorise the key addition and subtraction facts ........ much as it is important to know key multiplication and division facts I think maybe this other stage gets overlooked. Any thoughts?


P.S. I thought DD1 knew a whole load on instant recall - but then she confessed to me today that she was counting on very quickly in her head for some of them - and told me which ones.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 2:43 pm 
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Do you mean sums such as 16+8 or 27+7, or 33-8? I am continually trying to get DS to do those on a mental number line bridging through the 10s number. Occasionally he does; more often, he counts on his fingers! I'm sure learning addition and subtraction facts off by heart (as they are for number bonds) would really speed things up/ improve accuracy; and speed seems to be a big part of the 11+

I've tried searching for Big Maths on Amazon and it doesn't come up. Where did you find it?

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 2:59 pm 
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Ok, was it this that you were reading:

http://www.andrelleducation.co.uk/shop/ ... ooks/clic/

I looked at the sample pages. When I read this stuff, it just makes me really want to homeschool ....

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 6:42 pm 
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Hiya Fatbananas, me too until I try to teach something to one of my childre at home and get the "boooring" treatment!

There are some free downloads on that website, and one of them is a set of tests for each school year of the "learn its".

e.g. for addition facts it would be pairs of numbers up to 9+9 ------- if you remove adding 1 (bit too easy) and the same thing the other way round (e.g. 3+4, 4+3) there are about 39 addition facts. Then there are the related subtraction facts, all multiplication facts, and all related division facts. They spread them out across all the school years 1-6 in their tests - there are not many facts to learn each school year. They are making sure children learn all the facts to the point of instant recall.

It wouldn't include something like 16-4 as it would be assumed that if you knew 6-4 off by heart you could easily do 16-4 if you understood place value (which would be taught elsewhere in the scheme). Also bridging the tens would be simple e.g. 23-7 ..... if you knew that 7 -3 =4, you'd presumably be much faster at going 23-3 = 20 and I need to take off another 4, and from knowing that 10-4=6 you would quickly get down to 16 ........ I'm guessing that's the theory behind learning just all the pairs up to 10+10 off by heart?

Looking on the web it seems that quite a few schools now do have a system for learning facts off by heart - we don't have it until it comes to timestables, apart from suggestions like dice games etc etc. These are fun, and good practice, but I don't find that they stop my children counting up or down - they don't seem to replace rote learning for my two anyhow.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 10:18 am 
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mystery wrote:
Also bridging the tens would be simple e.g. 23-7 ..... if you knew that 7 -3 =4, you'd presumably be much faster at going 23-3 = 20 and I need to take off another 4

Yes, I can see that learning those facts by rote would make the bridging through 10 much quicker. Think DS knows some of those, but perhaps not all. And hasn't been encouraged to use those facts to bridge through. Think I will do those tests with DS once school starts; think they should receive minimal opposition as they're so nice and short.

I bought Yhatzee yesterday for the evenings/ rainy days of our screen-free holiday next week :twisted:

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 10:33 am 
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Those sound like good plans.

I've come across an extremely simple computer game - mathmagician on the Oswego website. You can really home in on what you want to practise. At the moment we are having a family challenge on who can answer 20 questions which involve adding 2 in the lowest possible time.

It's really simple but it's quite revealing the speed at which each child can do it. The youngest cannot do it within a minute, the older one takes about 40 seconds (but part of this is sheer typing speed). Still, it's good practice for the keyboard skills too - I'm thinking if they use the number pad on the keyboard (which is laid out like a pocket calculator) they'll be very fast on a calculator when the time comes!

I'm also trying my own invention with them - lazy maths! I've told them the best maths is lazy maths where you don't really have to think much at all. I've put all the addition facts (up to 10+10) on flashcards. Then we've worked out which ones they know without counting up etc - that makes the lazy pile. Then each day we go through the lazy pile and see if we can add some more to the lazy pile.

It seems to be called "maths fluency" - there are quite a few research articles if you google it. I had it without trying I seem to think, but many children don't - and that is nothing to do with "mathematical ability".

I'm wondering if many of the issues that people mention on here with maths are related to a lack of it.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 1:32 pm 
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Anything called 'lazy maths' is bound to appeal! Think I might try that with times tables; again, a bit like homing in on the subjects DC find trickier, rather than wasting time going over the stuff they already know.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 2:08 pm 
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Yes they flop back on a bean bag and force themselves not to count up in their heads as that is not "lazy". It's amazing the speed at which the younger one can "count on" e.g. 9+8 , silently, no fingers, no lips moving, pretty fast - but certainly not "lazy". It's no wonder she conks out after a small number of sums if she's always doing that counting on stuff in her head.

Knowing my two though the appeal will have gone in a day or two.


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