[Numeracy 225] Re: Seeking for Understanding

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steinkedb at q.com steinkedb at q.com
Tue Mar 23 11:11:51 EDT 2010

Thanks for adding the websites for math practice. Here's another one: www.math.com Go to the Practice tab, then Basic Arithmetic. You will see a "facts practice" program where you can set the operation, then set the "high" and "low" number. After that you click GO and have 60 sections to answer as many facts as you can. Have the students use two hands when doing the quiz, one to enter the answer, the other to click the mouse after the answer is entered.

Below is the order of the quizzes I'm using for my GED math classes. You'll notice that with the most difficult facts, I set the "high" and "low" very close. Otherwise the random number generator in the program can by chance give a lot of the easier facts rather than the ones that need practice.


#1 1+1 to 5+5 #5 0x0 to 4x4 #11 7x7 to 10x10 #17 Set High to 6; set Low to 0

#2 4+4 to 7+7 #6 3x3 to 6x6 #12 4x4 to 8x8 #18 Set High to 8; set Low to 6

#3 6+6 to 8+8 #7 4x4 to 7x7 #13 3x3 to 8x8 #19 Set High to 9; set Low to 5

#4 5+5 to 9+9 #8 6x6 to 8x8 #14 0x0 to 7x7 #20 Set High to 10; set Low to 0

#9 5x5 to 8x8 #15 6x6 to 10x10

#10 7x7 to 9x9 #16 3x3 to 10x10

Another way to memorize multiplication facts is to sing them to familiar melodies. (A student brought this idea to me.) STUDENTS DO NOT HAVE TO SING. However, they must say the string of "facts" in the rhythm of the song. This works because 1) song lyric memorization appears to take a slightly different path than word memorization and 2) rhythm "chunks" information so the brain feels like it has less to remember. After they have learned the "string," teach them to start halfway through - the facts at the end that they often don't know. By the way, you don't need to memorize anything "times" 9 because that can be done on fingers quite efficiently. When you know 3, 4, 6, 7, and 9 (on your fingers), the only fact to memorize is 8 x 8 = 64.

I"ve tried to write the syllables of the "tables" where the syllables of the original melodies belong. I use melodies that almost everyone knows, regardless of culture. That is important when instructing people from other countries.

"3 times" Star-Spangled Banner
Oh-oh say can you see By the dawn's ear- ly light
3 6 9 12 fif- teen eight-teen twenty- one twenty- four (same rhythm and numbers with the next line of the song)

"4 times" Jingle Bells
Jin gle bells, Jin- gle bells , jin - gle all the way
4 8 12 six - teen twen -ty twenty- four twenty- eight thirty-two (same rhythm and numbers with the next line of the song)

"6 times" The Alphabet Song (or "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star')
Twin - kle, twin - kle lit - tle star, How I won - der what you are
6 12 eigh-teen twen-ty four, thir- ty thirty- six forty - two forty-eight

"7 times" Happy Birthday
Hap - py birth - day to you. Hap - py birth - day to you. Hap - py birth - day dear ___ _____ . Hap - py birth - day to you.
sev - en four- teen twenty -one. twen-ty - eight thir - ty five. For- ty - two for -ty - nine______ fif -ty - six six -ty - three

Dorothea Steinke
Front Range Community College
Westminster, CO
dorothea.steinke at frontrange.edu

-----Original Message-----
From: numeracy-bounces at nifl.gov [mailto:numeracy-bounces at nifl.gov]On Behalf Of stellacsullivan at aol.com
Sent: Monday, March 22, 2010 8:31 PM
To: numeracy at nifl.gov
Subject: [Numeracy 223] Re: Seeking for Understanding

Although I teach 2nd grade, I couldn't agree more. In fact, I just sent home report cards. Most of my students had a comment about increasing thier addition/subtraction fluency. Don't get me wrong though, I spend a lot of time teaching them how addition and subtraction are related too. One way I do this is by having them use "fact triangles."

Nonetheless, all of my students can benefit from being more fluent with their addition and subtraction facts. The more they know how to do these seemingly simple problems, the more cognitive space their brain is freeing up in order for them to tackle more challenging and demanding tasks.

When I teach addition and subtraction facts, I begin with +,-0, then +,- 1, then doubles, and then sums equal to 10, etc. (progressive alignment)

I like this website to get my students warmed up: http://www.oswego.org/ocsd-web/games/Mathmagician/cathymath.html. They love it! I think it may work for adult learners too.

Stella Mercker

-----Original Message-----
From: Julie Pangrac <jpangrac at richland.edu>
To: The Math and Numeracy Discussion List <numeracy at nifl.gov>
Sent: Mon, Mar 22, 2010 7:44 pm
Subject: [Numeracy 222] Re: Seeking for Understanding---Knowing the Multiplication Facts

Our experience is that when students know their addition, subtraction,
multiplication, and division facts quickly and accurately, they are able to
control the numbers and not let the numbers control them. We have tried
teaching without students being automatic in recalling the facts, and although
they could intellectually understand higher math concepts, they were never
accurate enough or fast enough to pass exams and/or work very many problems
before becoming fatigued or overwhelmed. When they became automatic in facts,
they started saying, "Did you know that addition and subtraction are related to
each other?" "Knowing the facts helps me find multiples and factors." "I was
always off when I used my fingers." "I think my brain can hold a lot more now
because I don't have to figure out the facts." Our experience has also been
that many of the timed entrance and placement exams do not allow students to use

Julie Pangrac, Literacy Program Coordinator
Project READ

From: numeracy-bounces at nifl.gov [numeracy-bounces at nifl.gov] On Behalf Of Denney,
Brooke [denneyb at cowley.edu]
Sent: Monday, March 22, 2010 4:37 PM
To: numeracy at nifl.gov
Subject: [Numeracy 220] Seeking for Understanding

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

Good Day Everyone!

Brooke Denney
Math and Numeracy Moderator

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