Ideas for Building Math Fact Fluency

Practicing math facts can be dull and boring OR fun and engaging. I know my 2nd grade team is ALWAYS in search of new ways of practicing and assessing math facts. It is crucial that our students master these foundational skills in order to be successful mathematicians. Here are a few (hopefully) fresh ideas for practicing math facts in your classroom and at home!

Classic Games. 
Spice up boring old flashcards by pairing them with ANY classic game. My favorites are Connect 4 and Jenga. Students keep a stack of flashcards next to them. They have to correctly (and quickly) answer the fact before they can take a turn! Easy and effective!

15 in a Row.
 (idea from the Measured Mom)
Set a stack of flashcards in the middle of you and a partner. Take turns drawing a card, answering it and placing it in front of you. You must place the cards in order of their sums smallest to largest. (Example 1+1, 1+3, 3+5) If you get a card with the same sum, you stack it on top of your existing pile with that sum. The goal is to get a row of 15 different sums. You could adapt this to 10 in a row if that works better.

What’s better than practicing math facts alone?! Practicing with a partner, of course!! My student LOVE to play the flashcard games above as well as addition and subtraction tic tac toe! I love these easy to prep game boards! I send them home to practice for homework, too!
Sushi Monster is a FREE app! 
It helps kids practice, reinforce, and extend their knowledge of math facts. 
A chef places numbered plates of sushi on the counter. Kids have to combine the numbers on the plates to reach the target number (worn by the sushi monster). If the combination is correct, the monster gobbles up the sushi. If it is wrong, the monster throw a tantrum. educational app provides a lot of practice and kids will love the silly sushi chef!

Quick Math is a paid app but I think it is totally worth what it has to offer! For $1.99, students practice their math facts in a pretty straight-forward format BUT the best part is they can use their finger to write the number directly on the screen! I know in the past with other apps, my students became frustrated by having to type the answer so this feature is totally helpful!

 Moose Math 
Another FREEBIE, Moose Math offers more than just math fact practice. It takes students on a mathematical adventure AND includes a report card section where you can monitor progress!

Can you tell I am a fan of games? It’s the perfect way to sneak learning in because they don’t even realize what’s going on! 
Math Fact Races
This idea from Saddle Up in Second Grade is the perfect combination of competition and speed! And all you need is a whiteboard and markers! 
  • Draw 2 large circles on the board and write the numbers 0-10 on the inside. 
  • Pick a number for students to add to those numbers and write it in the middle (see picture)
  • Divide your class into two teams. One player from each team speed walks up to the board and adds the middle # to one of the numbers in the circle and writes the sum on the outside of the circle. 
  • The first team to correctly add the inside number to the all of the numbers around the circle is the winner! 

Marcie explains it better than me here.

(umm, how precious is that kiddo in a cowboy hat?)
Around the World
I feel like this is played in every classroom, am I right? If you’ve never played Around the World, all you need are flashcards. Two students stand next to each other by their desks and you show them a flashcard. The student who says the correct answer first moves onto the next student and you repeat the process. The goal is to be faster than every student in the room thus moving “around the world aka classroom”.
If you need some flashcards, click here to download the ones you see above for free!
Fast Fact Folders are a new tool I am implementing to help my students practice their facts daily. 
Each students’ folder consists of a dry erase marker and eraser, plastic sheet cover with math fact worksheet and tracking page. We will start out the year practicing as a whole group but eventually, they do this routine on their own during guided math. 
Once students have their folders, I set a timer for 1 minute and they complete as many math facts as they can within 60 seconds. When the time is up, they check their work and count how many they completed correctly. Students then record their total on their tracking sheet. It takes less than 5 minutes and holds them accountable for their progress over the week. On Fridays, I collect the folders to check out how they are doing. If I feel they are ready to move on, I switch out their math facts worksheet for the next level! 

This system is currently available in my TpT store for addition facts. Subtraction and multiplication are in the works. You can find it here: Fast Fact Folders

Have you seen this idea floating around Pinterest? There are Kaboom sticks for ALL different skills. They are easy to make and kids can play the game for as little or as long as you have! It’s the perfect 5-10 minute time filler. 
All you need are Popsicle sticks and a container for storage. A teacher at my school collected Crystal Light containers. I use little tin containers from the Target Dollar Spot.
Write addition facts on the Popsicle sticks. You can make them mixed facts or focus on specific facts. Include in each bin 2 sticks that say Kaboom. 
Students take turns picking a stick and reading the fact with the answer. If they get it right, they keep the stick. If they get it wrong, they put it back. If they pull “Kaboom”, they have to put all their sticks back. Play for a set amount of time and at the end, students count how many sticks they have to determine the winner.
Kahoot is a classroom favorite but up until recently, I never thought of it as a way to practice math facts! Then again, why not? If you have never played Kahoot, it is a free an interactive game. There are thousands of pre-made quizzes you can search or you can create your own for any subject, skill or topic. Students can play in partners, small groups or as a whole group to practice math facts AND you will collect some data #winwin
You will need are iPads or laptops for students to log in. You can display it on the SmartBoard or projector screen as well but it’s not necessary. Your students need the pin # of the Kahoot game you want them to play. Here is a link for a 50 addition math facts Kahoot game that is already made! You can always make your own and personalize it exactly how you want but sometimes there’s just no time for that!
What’s your students favorite way to practice math facts?
Happy teaching!
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