Monday, February 10, 2020

Math - The Times Tables - A Fork in the Road

There's way too many people around who are fearful of math and think they are bad at it. There are many reasons for this including a math curriculum that veers off into advanced algebra and calculus rather than teaching more applicable math skills such as basic statistics, probability, algorithms/logic, and basic finance.
Time4MathFacts: Free to Time4Learning Members

But one very simple reason for this is that many students fail to become fluent with the math facts so as math conversations happen, they feel lost and confused.  For instance, by 5th grade, a teacher might explain that:

There are 5 baskets of a dozen apples being sold for 120 dollars. So what is the price for each apple. So we have 60 apples selling for $120 so they are $2 each.  

To a student fluent with the fact 5 x 12 is 60, these sentences would be relatively easily to follow.  But to a student without automaticity with these numbers, these sentences could be very confusing.  Perplexing. Where did the 60 apples come from? Where did the $2 come from? Not being able to follow leads to panic and a feeling of inadequacy.

To learn the math facts, there's a need for extended practice over months.  This can be done through grit and determination and discipline. Or it can be accomplished with a really fun game based system that kids like to play and which leads to proficiency through a sophisticated time-proven design.  The sophistication involve emphasizing that the math facts come in "families".  So rather than learn four different facts that are related, one fact can be learned along with all of its permutations.

Specifically, learning 6 x 9 = 54, 9 x 6 = 54, 54 / 9 = 6, and 54 / 6 = 9 can sound like four math facts but the best math fact learning systems emphasize how this is one family and can be turned in any direction.

Time4MathFacts was added for free for Time4Learning in 2019.
In 2020, Time4MathFacts became available to all families and homeschoolers directly.  The program is the consumer version of ReflexMath by ExploreLearning which is now only available to schools through ExploreLearning.