For the past month I have been tutoring Marine recruits who are struggling with the math portion of the ASVAB test, which is required to join the military. It is really sad to see people over eighteen years of age still struggling with basic math concepts. It has inspired me to have my younger students become proficient with their basic facts so that they can spend more time learning the larger math concepts.

So why learn math facts?

- Automaticity allows you to see the numbers in your head, leading to less mental energy used.
- It allows you to manipulate numbers more easily.
- Decreases the probability of making errors in calculations.

There are many wonderful websites that make this process fun for children. One that I’ve been using is math magician. You pick the type of operation that you want to focus on and then refine the parameters that you will use. For example, I have several students who will be entering 4th grade and I want to make sure that they have their multiplication/division facts mastered. I will either pick a number that they have not mastered or one hundred mixed facts. The site provides a timer based on the test that is being taken. If they complete it in the allotted time, they receive a certificate with the percent that they correctly answered. The students really enjoy it.

Here are some websites that I have found to be useful:

http://resources.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/maths/index.html

http://www.helpingwithmath.com/by_subject/multiplication/mul_games.htm

http://resources.oswego.org/games/mathmagician/cathymath.html

Make a goal of so many minutes a day to work on facts, such as 20 minutes. This short amount of time invested will make all the difference in long term math skills.

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