There are some things that students learn in school, take a test on, and then don't reeeeally need to remember ever again. (um - 10th grade logics and proofs anyone?)
However, there are MANY things that we teach our students that are the building blocks for much of what they will learn in future grades.
Math facts are one of those things.
Knowing them is the foundation for sooo much of what is to come in their learning, and NOT knowing them creates a huge barrier to our students' future success.
Here's another fact: math facts can be boring and dull to learn. Skill and drill seems to be the obvious choice for having our students memorize their facts. However, I am - as I am sure you are, too - a big believer in making learning fun and meaningful. If students connect with their learning, they will REMEMBER their learning. Simple as that.
That's why several years ago, my teacher friend and I started having our 4th grade students participate in math challenges.
Total game changer.
Here's how it works:
Students take short, timed math facts quizzes (time limits are totally optional if you feel your students would do best without the pressure)
There is a different quiz for each number. For example, if you are working on multiplication facts, there is timed quiz for the two times tables, threes, fours...etc...all the way up to the twelves times tables.
Each math facts challenge has a different theme. The multiplication challenge has an ice cream theme (Yum!). As students take their quizzes, they are working to earn a part of their "ice cream cone." For example, when a student passes their two's times table, they receive their mat, when they pass their threes they earn their napkin, fours will get them their cone, and so on. With each passed quiz, their ice cream cone becomes more complete. The more quizzes they pass, the taller their ice cream cone become.
When students have completed the challenge, the class celebrates with a real ice cream party.
I mean - food is the master motivator, right?
The result: STUDENTS KNOW THEIR MATH FACTS!
Want to host a math facts challenge in your own classroom? Choose your challenge below depending on the math operation your students need to work on and download each one for FREE.
Have another great way to motivate your students to learn their math facts? Let me know in the comments!
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