Teacher Toolbox
Learning Strategies - Mathematics

Fact Knowledge

To support skills to execute problem solving, children need to have basic mathematic fact and computation knowledge. Besides the below suggestions, check our Games and Activities under Educational Resources for additional ideas.

Activities to support fact knowledge:

Computation
  • Play games to support computation fluency. Card games such as War, Addition War, and 21 provide practice with these facts.
    The book Card Games for Kids is a valuable resource for games of math skills.
  • Domino games can be used to practice addition and subtraction as well as used for sorting, forming number sets, and patterning. 
  • Other games to support basic mathematic computation include: 
    Quizmo The Quizmo game series has versions to practice math skills in areas such as number recognition, money, telling time, and fractions, as well as basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
    Trilemma and Equate provide practice with math computation and forming number sentences. 
  • Use computer games to practice math facts and skills. Suggestions for computer games that focus on math include Mia’s Math Adventure, Learn to Play Chess with Fritz and Chester, Genius, Crazy Machines and Wacky Contraptions, and Math Mahjongg.
  • Teach older children strategies to assist with fact recall.  For example, children can remember easily a number added to 10.  Children can add to ten, but remember to +1 to find the sum of a number added to 11 or -1 to remember the sum of a number added to 9. Once children learn to use this strategy, they can apply it to other sums.
Numbers
  • Have children sort coins according to their amounts.  This will help them recognize coins and provide exposure to their value.
  • Play money exchange games to help students work with place value, equivalent amounts, and carrying and borrowing.
  • To practice with number recognition and basic counting skills for young children, play games like Chutes and Ladders, Hi Ho Cherry-O, Memory, Go Fish, and Crazy-8s
  • Drilling with flash cards can help with math fact knowledge.  To support children’s generation of the equation, present a card with a signal digit written on it such as 9. Then ask the child to compute a problem, such as "multiply by 3". Have the child state the answer.  This will help children generate the equation they are solving.
Spatial Skills
  • Have children complete origami, make paper airplanes, and participate in paper folding activities, like wrapping presents, to recognize common fractions terms, size estimation, and spatial skills.  Have children participate in tasks that use math, such as cooking or woodworking.
  • Play checkers or chess with children to explore patterns and spatial skills.  The games Master Mind and Battleship also provide practice with patterning, logic, and spatial skills.
  • Encourage children to build with a variety of materials such as legos, or build domino rallies to practice with spatial relationships.
  • Have children explore tessellations or complete tangram or pentomino puzzles to explore visual patterns. Have children make tessellation stencils to replicate the patterns or color the patterns in different ways. One source of materials is www.deltaeducation.com
  • Teach children finger-string games such as Cat’s Cradle.  This helps with spatial skills, following directions, and sequencing the steps to complete the form. The book Cat’s Cradle: A Book of String Figures is a valuable resource for teaching children string games.
Student Aids
  • To minimize visual distractions and confusion, limit the number of problems presented on a page or worksheet. Try to keep 4-5 problems on a worksheet.
  • Division Cue Card
    Keep worksheets free of unnecessary decorations or information. This will help to maintain focus to the direction of the task.
  • Teach students to make cue cards to help remember the steps to complete computation.
  • To support fact knowledge in the classroom, provide access to number charts, multiplication grids, and calculators, such as the See N’Solve Calculator.  This calculator shows the problem as the child enters the information. It is available at www.deltaeducation.com
  • Use grid paper to help children line up problems and limit visual confusion.

Books that provide ideas for fun activities & games to teach math: