Knowing from memory means not having to think about it.
Two of the best standards from the Common Core State Standards are on our home page:
These standards name the most important elementary math skills of all, because they are the foundation of all further work in mathematics. But what does it mean to say students know math facts “from memory?” It means that students don’t have to stop to figure it out. Say for example a student is adding nine plus seven. A student can figure that out by thinking that because 9 is one more than 8 and 7 is one less than 8, the answer to 9+7 would be the same as 8+8, which is 16. This is a smart strategy for figuring out the answer, but knowing it from memory means the student simply remembers the answer is 16.
So if second grade students know from memory the sums of all single digit numbers, they can answer any of those problems without hesitation, without having to stop and think about them. That takes practice, to build up the neural connections, so that students remember the answers instantly without some intervening thought process. That’s what Rocket Math is specifically designed to do. Practicing figuring out the answer to facts is NOT the same thing as recalling them from memory. So any practice procedure that allows students a long time to answer facts, allows hesitations, will not be very helpful in achieving that status of “knowing from memory.”
The peer practice procedures in Rocket Math require the “checker” to follow a “correction procedure” whenever there is a hesitation. If the student has to stop even for a second to “think about it” they need more practice on that fact to commit it fully to memory. The “correction procedure” provides that extra needed practice. Having students complete worksheets on their own will NEVER eliminate that “stopping to figure it out.” That is why the oral peer practice in Rocket Math is essential. And that is why Rocket Math really will help students come to “know from memory” all sums of two one-digit numbers.