[Numeracy 221] Re: Seeking for Understanding

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Leslie Hunten lhunten at gmail.com
Mon Mar 22 19:43:54 EDT 2010


Yes, absolutely, students need to know their math facts! All of them,
solidly. It's an essential foundation for working with numbers quickly and
easily, instead of slowly and laboriously. I think this is an extremely
under-taught and undervalued basis of math competence. I've seen such a
transformation happen when a student gets those pesky math facts under his
belt. Suddenly, he can perform operations quickly and can proceed with a
word problem, and he has room in his head for concepts and processes. He
can see the bigger scope, and doesn't get held up and frustrated by simple
operations.

Students also need to understand how addition is the opposite operation from
subtraction, and the same with multiplication and division. (Many of them
have No Clue!) They need to see how two parts come together in the whole.
Without this, they will be endlessly confused by situation problems because
they can't see that the final mileage minus the initial mileage yields the
distance traveled - the whole minus one part gives the missing part.

For teachers, it may be boring or discouraging to have to teach math facts,
semester after semester. But it's a tremendous gift for your students. It
gives them not only competence, but confidence. I've seen it completely
change many students' attitudes, and eliminate math anxiety.

To help my basic math students, the whole class works on one number per week
(for example, the 3 x __). We go over the set of math facts from several
different angles - addition, the multiplication "shortcut", subtraction and
division. I point out any special qualities, like the 5s all end in 5 or
0. We use flash cards and 100-problem quizzes from "math-drills.com". The
class makes a poster of at least 5 different ways to learn math facts (a
half sheet I created, the 100-problem quiz, flash cards, handwritten work,
and a list of multiples). With the whole class working on it, no one feels
ashamed, and the faster students start helping the slower ones. It becomes
a matter of class pride that everyone is able to pass a 3 minute quiz on all
the numbers up to 12 by the end of the session!

One last nudge of motivation: imagine trying to find a common denominator
without knowing your math facts...

Leslie Hunten
Pima Community College


On Mon, Mar 22, 2010 at 2:37 PM, Denney, Brooke <denneyb at cowley.edu> wrote:


> Welcome back to those of you home from the COABE/Proliteracy Conference

> held last week! There was a lot of great information given at this

> conference but in one of the sessions that I attended a question was asked

> about whether or not it was necessary for adults to “know” their

> multiplication facts to be successful in a mathematics course/exam? Or is it

> enough to understand the concept, that multiplication is repetitive addition

> enough to be successful in a mathematics course/exam? I thought this was an

> interesting question and therefore, I would pose these same questions to the

> forum. What are your thoughts about multiplication?

>

>

>

> Good Day Everyone!

>

>

>

> Brooke Denney

>

> Math and Numeracy Moderator

>

>

>

>

>

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> Email delivered to lhunten at gmail.com

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