The best sequence for Rocket Math programs

Teachers ask in what sequence they should teach the various Rocket Math programs.  The basic programs of Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication and Division (1s-9s) have priority and must be mastered by all students.  The rest of the programs are optional and should be offered to students once the basics have been mastered and only then. The only exception would be in a school where Kindergarteners did not get a chance to learn how to quickly and easily write numerals, through using the Rocket Writing for Numerals program.  In that case, you might take the first two months of the first grade year to run students through Rocket Writing for Numerals before beginning Addition (1s-9s).

Here’s a link to a printable version of the graphic above.

If first grade students are taking all year to get through sets A-Z in Addition, they need some extra help.  You should intervene to help students who take more than a week to pass a level.  Often they need to practice better or with a better partner.  Some may need to practice a second time during the day or at home in the evening.  First grade students who finish the 1s-9s can move on to the Add to 20 program for the remainder of the year.

Second grade students must have completed Addition before starting on Subtraction (1s-9s).  They can also test out of Addition through the Placement Probes.  Second graders who can not test out of  Addition in first grade or didn’t complete it in first grade, for them Addition has priority.  Only after getting through Set Z of Addition should they move into Subtraction.  Second grade students who complete Addition and Subtraction 1s-9s can move on to Subtract from 20.  Students who finish Subtract from 20 can do Skip Counting, which does a great job of preparing students to learn multiplication facts.

In third grade multiplication has priority, even if students have not mastered addition and subtraction.  Multiplication facts are so integral to the rest of higher math that students are even more crippled without multiplication facts than they are having to count addition and subtraction problems on their fingers.  So do Multiplication first, then if there’s time students who need to do so can go back and master Addition and Subtraction.  Once all three of these basic operations are under their belt students can go on to 10s, 11s, 12s in Multiplication.  If that is done and there is still some school year left I’d recommend the Factors program next.

In fourth grade students need to have completed Multiplication before going on to Division.  If they complete Division they can go on to 10s, 11s, 12s Division, followed by Factors.  Or if you prefer they could do 10s, 11s, 12s Multiplication.

By fifth grade students should have completed all four basic operations (1s-9s).  If students have not completed these basics (and cannot test out of them with the Placement Probes) then the sequence they should follow is Multiplication, followed by Division, then go back and complete Addition followed by Subtraction.   The same recommendations hold for students in any grade after fifth.

Once students have mastered the basics (1s-9s add, subtract, multiply, divide) the supplemental pre-algebra programs are recommended.  These will help more than learning the 10s, 11s, 12s facts.  I would recommend this order: Factors, followed by Equivalent Fractions, followed by Learning to Add Integers, Learning to Subtract Integers or Mixed Integers.

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