<img height="1" width="1" alt="" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=940171109376247&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

Dedicated to Teachers

Math Fact Frenzy: Drills Do Not Lead to Fluency

NNMFF_OneRemember back when you learned basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts in elementary school? You likely had pencils sharpened for your worksheets or your weekly timed test. There would be a page of fill-in-the-blank answers set up in neat rows and columns. You were told you would have three minutes to write down the answer to each math fact, and then the teacher would say “Begin!” and start the timer. You may have felt a sense of panic when your brain froze and you could not bring up the answers that only a few minutes earlier you knew.

Download a sample chapter of No More Math Fact Frenzy

What does it really take to help students learn their math facts in ways that allow them to access and use these facts fluently and flexibly to solve rich and challenging math problems? Are there strategies we could be using to help students learn their math facts more successfully, and with less stress and anxiety?

Teachers value fluency with number facts, and they are committed to helping students learn them. But why is achieving number fact fluency so difficult for so many of our students? Why is it surrounded with so much stress? Why do so many students come to think of themselves as not good in math because they cannot get these number facts memorized?

It feels like something about the way we approach number fact knowledge is just not working for our students. Writing our facts over and over again, whether this work is a timed test or “dressed up” to seem like fun, doesn’t really seem to help. Activities with “cute” contexts for finding number facts are often just an opportunity for students to keep using what they already know, even if it’s counting by ones, because there is little incentive to move into less comfortable strategies that are new to them. So how do students learn their number facts? Why don’t these kinds of approaches work? What does work? 

Learn more about No More Math Fact Frenzy at Heinemann.com

Download a sample chapter of No More Math Fact Frenzy

glyph-logo_May2016Follow us on Instagram @heinemannpub to stay up to date on the latest books, your favorite authors, and upcoming events!

Linda Ruiz Davenport is the Director of K–12 Mathematics for Boston Public Schools and supports mathematics teaching and learning district-wide.

Follow her on Twitter @LindaD_BPSMath

Connie S. Henry is an Assistant Director of K–12 Mathematics for Boston Public Schools. She has taught and coached math for many years.

Douglas H. Clements is the Kennedy Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Learning and Distinguished University Professor at the University of Denver.

Follow him on Twitter @DHClements

Julie Sarama is the Kennedy Endowed Chair in Innovative Technologies and Distinguished University Professor at the University of Denver. 

Follow her on Twitter @JulieSarama

Posted by: Steph GeorgePublished:

Topics: Mathematics, No More Math Fact Frenzy, Linda Ruiz Davenport, Julie Sarama, Connie S. Henry, Douglas H. Clements

Comment on this post:

Related Posts

On the Podcast: Marilyn Burns on Conducting Math Interviews with K–5 Students

Have you ever considered that understanding is to math as what comprehension is to reading? Today on The ...
Steph George Mar 29, 2020 5:00:00 AM

On the Podcast: Remote Math Instruction with Sue O'Connell

With schools across the country closing for weeks, possibly months, how do we keep our math learning goin...
Steph George Mar 18, 2020 4:47:40 PM

Reflections of a Math Coach: Five Questions to Consider

As an Elementary Math Coach, you have a critical role in moving math instruction forward within your scho...
Lauren Audet Feb 13, 2020 2:44:16 PM

Motivated by Ilana Horn - The Audiobook

Heinemann is pleased to announce the latest addition to our growing line of audiobooks, Motivated: Design...
Steph George Nov 4, 2019 1:14:24 PM