- Maths Links
As a school, we understand and appreciate that our parent community is committed to helping their children to become strong and confident in their mathematical learning. The aim of this section is to support you in this through:
- Links to true and tested websites that consolidate number knowledge
- Links to videos of games to support quick recall of basic facts
You have probably heard how important it is for children to know their basic facts in order to make progress in maths. But what exactly are they?
- Addition/subtraction basic facts refer to all the additions (and the corresponding subtractions) that can be made up to 20: from 1 + 1 = 2 right through to 19 + 1 = 20.
- Multiplication/division basic facts refer to all the possible multiplications (and the corresponding divisions) between numbers up to 10: from 1 ⨉ 1 = 1 through to 10 ⨉ 10 = 100.
Knowing these facts off by heart enables students to free up space in their minds so that they can complete more complex mathematical thinking without having to dedicate brainpower to ‘working out’ the basics. Once a student understands the maths behind the basic facts, such as what addition or multiplication involve, they can begin to recognise the patterns and relationships between the numbers they are working with. This is the beginning of what is often termed as number sense. A combination of quick fact recall and good number sense supports students to approach problems by applying this knowledge and looking for number patterns that they recognise.
When learning facts it is therefore useful for students to learn the whole 'family of facts' which clarifies the relationships between all the relevant numbers. e.g. how addition and subtraction are connected and the same with multiplication and division
6 + 2 = 8 6 ✖️ 4 = 24
2 + 6 = 8 4 ✖️ 6 = 24
8 - 2 = 6 24 ➗ 4 = 6
8 - 6 = 2 24 ➗ 6 = 4
Some students find rote learning these facts relatively easy whereas others use other methods to help build this knowledge. Whatever the strategy, it is important that the process is fun, engaging and does not cause anxiety. At KTS we encourage the use of games, songs and repetitive chants as well as traditional written forms to help memorise the facts. Here are some ideas on how to improve basic fact recall:
- Addition facts to ten song: played once a day this song can help students memorise important additions to make ten which will support their addition strategies
- Card Wars: a game that uses ordinary playing cards to encourage learning basic facts
- Family of facts rockets (addition/subtraction and multiplication/division): complete one each day making sure students speak or sing the facts out loud as well as writing them down
- 21st Century Times Tables: a video describing how, by understanding that multiplication and division are connected, students only have to learn 35 basic facts instead of 120.
Your child will also be doing regular work on learning the basic facts as part of their classroom mathematics programme so talk to them and/or their teacher about how they are learning at school too.
Finally, our advice for learning the basic facts is to do a little each day – up to 5 minutes daily is enough as that will add up as time goes on. Focus on mastering a family of facts for a few days then move on. Most importantly, take the stress out of the learning and try to make it fun as possible.
Using Basic Fact Knowledge
There are also heaps of online games that support the learning of basic facts and wider mathematical concepts – the NZ Ministry of Education has a list of recommended sites HERE and I encourage you to explore them with your child.
Also, you can find ideas on how to use a range of materials at home to explore maths with your child HERE.
Supporting School Maths
The following pamphlets provide some great ideas on how to make maths fun at home. Whilst they reference National Standards, and they are no longer in place, the ideas and suggestions are great.
The school subscribes to Mathletics, an on-line programme aimed at improving maths learning through interactive games, activities and challenges. The school school pays for half of the yearly subscription and if parents opt to pay the remaining cost as part of the activity costs, access is made available to children at home.