Change Online Game speed–You can do it, but should you?

 

The rapid speed required to answer is a feature, not a bug.

You can change how fast the student has to answer, but you probably should not.  The main goal of Rocket Math is for students to commit facts to memory, to be able to answer them instantly, from recall. That is called “automaticity.”  It is the point of Rocket Math.

Recall is instantaneous, but “figuring out” is not.

The fast pace means they don’t have time to count on their fingers or to “figure out” a fact–they just have to remember it.  If they don’t remember, then the game gives them a LOT of practice on only a couple of facts, until they do remember them. That is exactly the point of the game.

We want them to stop having to “figure out” facts and just remember the answer.   If the students are not used to “recalling” facts they will think that the game is just “too fast” for them.  If they keep playing and learning, after a bunch of repetitions, they will be able to remember the fact.   These days students aren’t asked to memorize anywhere else so they are unaccustomed to having to repeat things over and over to commit them to memory. Almost everyone can do it, but it takes more practice than many students are used to doing.

 

Only if their difficulty score is over 3.0 do they need an adjustment made.  Their difficulty score, from the Review Progress screen tells you whether or not the game is too fast for them. You can sort your class based on their difficulty scores–as the teacher did in this picture.  A difficulty score under 3.0 means the student has to start over on average fewer than 3 times for each part passed.  That is not too difficult.  Some students have difficulty scores under 1.0 and Rocket Math is very easy for them.  Only students with difficulty scores over 3.0 should have their speed changed.  On the other hand, students with difficulty scores under 0.1 should be challenged to take on the Faster speed!

 

Here’s where you can make the change.  Go to the green “Individual Action” button at the right end of each student’s row. Click on “Change Game Speed.”  The popup gives you the choices of  Fast, Normal, Slow and Slowest.

The options for speed are:

  • Normal, at 3 seconds to answer (double that for two digit answers)
  • Slow, at 4.5 seconds to answer per digit
  • Slowest, at 6 seconds to answer per digit
  • Fast, at 2.25 seconds to answer per digit

Here you can see different students showing different speeds of play.

Kids Who Write Their Numbers Backwards

The group “The Who” was correct when it comes to kids writing their numbers backwards: The kids are alright.  Children writing their numbers backwards is not something to worry about. It is natural and expected. With instruction and encouragement, children can learn to write their numbers correctly with ease. 

Why Do Kids Write Numbers Backwards?

A chair mirrored is still a chair, while a seven mirrored is not the same.For the first several years of our lives, we learn that “orientation-in-space” does not change an object’s identity. Turn a chair any which way, and it is still a chair. We learn this lesson well enough that we stop paying attention to an object’s orientation in space.

So it is not surprising that kids sometimes write their numbers backwards. It would be more surprising if they never did.. Students need to learn to write certain symbols to face a certain direction. 

What Does it Mean When Kids Write Numbers Backwards?

When children write their numbers backwards, they are mirror writing – writing letters or numbers backwards or upside down. They need to learn that while a chair may be mirrored and is still a chair, a 7 mirrored is no longer a 7.

Is It Normal for a Child To Write Numbers Backwards?

Students work with together to learn how to write their numbers.It’s perfectly normal for kids to write numbers backwards. Some kids will even write from right to left reversing all their numbers. It’s important for children to learn how numbers face, but don’t stop your kid from writing this way or make them correct it. It will take time and gentle reminders.

Is Writing Numbers Backwards a Sign of Dyslexia?

A chair mirrored is still a chair, but a d reversed turns into a b.Writing numbers backwards isn’t a sign of dyslexia. Dyslexia is a reading disorder that involves problems identifying speech sounds and how they relate to letters and words. Writing backwards is a sign of not learning which way symbols face.

It’s common, however, for students with difficulties learning to read to continue reversing their letters such as b and d. Reversing “b” and “d” has the same cause as writing numbers backwards: learning that orientation in space does matter. However, when it comes to “b” and “d,” the reversal isn’t just “backwards.” So the distinction between b and d is somewhat harder for children to learn. Students who have problems with phonemic awareness will find it harder to remember which is which. But, even children with dyslexia can learn to read, it just takes more focused instruction.

Do Kids Grow Out of Writing Numbers Backwards?

It’s important for children to learn to write symbols in a certain way and why by a teacher and or parents. It helps to have someone tell them when they have written a number backwards and to reinforce them when they get it right. Some children notice this without much prompting, so we say they “grew” out of it. But really, they just learned it on their own. If you want them to be successful, don’t hesitate to help them learn to write their letters and numbers correctly. Be nice and supportive, but do give clear information.A mom congratulates her son at a baseball game.

How Can I Help My Child If They are Writing Numbers Backwards?

An example worksheet from Rocket Math with an example of a 7 at the top.The best way to help is to make an example of “the way it is supposed to face” on any paper before your child starts working. Say something like, “Be sure to make all your sevens face this way.” Your child can then check each time he or she writes the number to make sure they are making it face the same way as your example.

By the way, writing “7” a hundred times won’t help because after the first one it is just doing the same thing over and over. The issue is remembering which way it has to face when you write it. So having it available as a reference means your child has to remember, “Oops. Which way does a seven face? Oh, that’s how it faces. Hey! I got it right!”

Another powerful way to help is to notice when they write their numbers the right way and congratulate them. “Wow! All your sevens on this page are facing the right way. Way to go! You are really learning this.” If you are impressed by their learning, they will be motivated to keep remembering and it will boost their self-esteem.

When is it time to Talk to Their Teacher?

If you notice your child is frustrated after school when they were trying to write their numbers, you can bring it up with the teacher at the conference time. Ask them if they are giving your child an example of how to write the number to look at when writing their numbers. But, other than consistently helping your child learn the arbitrary rule about which way certain numbers face, there is nothing else the teacher can or should do. Please don’t ask them to “test” your child for dyslexia on account of these backward numbers.

How Can Rocket Math Help?

Rocket Math offers worksheets that may help your child learn how to write their numerals correctly. Each worksheet focuses on a group of numbers to show children how to write their numbers in the right direction and with the right form. Learning to write numbers correctly takes time, patience, and encouragement from teachers and parents.

Online Math Drills to Help Develop Math Fact Fluency

What are Math Drills? 

Math drills are exercises given to students that can help improve their speed and ease of recall. The goal of math drills is to help students develop automaticity, allowing them to instantly recall from memory the answer to any math fact. If carefully designed timed math drills can help check which facts the student has learned and which ones the student needs to work on. If not carefully designed, they can be a terror to children. Carefully designed math drills in the elementary grades can smooth the way for easy success later on in math.

Why Is Math Fact Fluency Important? 

Math fact fluency is important because it is the first step to developing automaticity. Automaticity frees up the students’ short term memory for more important questions. It means students can answer basic math facts like 7 x 9 or 4 + 8 instantly, by recall without effort. Students who aren’t fluent in math facts, have to stop and figure out facts, and then won’t be able to focus on higher-order math lessons. This could lead to them missing parts of the instruction.

How Do Online Math Drills Help Children Develop Math Fact Fluency?

Correctly recalling the answer to a math fact strengthens the neural connection between the problem such as 9 plus 7, and its answer, 16. [Note that repeating a fact over and over does not achieve the same result. Finding the answer in memory and producing it is what strengthens that connection.] Math drills that ask students to recall answers to a couple of targeted facts, mixed in with other facts the student already knows, makes those neural connections stronger until they can answer those targeted facts correctly, and eventually without any conscious thought. The curriculum should not go on to target any more new facts to learn until the student is fluent with the ones learned so far. A computer program is able to patiently provide this practice for as long as each student needs, which is wonderful.

Why are Math Tests Timed?

Math tests are timed to tell if students are solving math facts by recall rather than deriving the answer. By timing the tests, teachers can tell which students are able to recall answers instantly and which ones need more help to develop automaticity.

Before I understood this, I made students do pages of mixed math facts, which they did by figuring them out.  However, that practice was not helping them become fluent. Timing those pages of mixed facts would not have helped either. In graduate school, I was taught the learning principles that would help students develop fluency. Students need to focus on a small number of facts so they can recall them. So math drills should be composed of a carefully selected set of facts.  This is the key to the design of Rocket Math and is why it works so well.

What Kind Of Drills Should Your Child Do?

At the very least, your child should learn the basic 1s through 9s math facts of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. These will make a huge difference in your child’s success in math. However, if you want to help your child become really proficient and confident in math, there are more things you can drill at each grade level.

Kindergarten Math Drills

Kindergarteners need to be able to count objects as well as rote count. They should practice counting up to 20, at least, and counting by tens to 100. They should learn how to write the numerals and be given drills to practice numeral formation. Obviously this is not something that can be practiced online, but a good writing practice program such as Rocket Writing for Numerals will set your child up for success.

1st Grader Math Drills

In first-grade, learning how to count and write numerals is assumed. The key skill to drill on in first-grade is addition facts 1 through 9. Once those are learned, children can drill on addition facts to 20, such as 13+6, or 4+15. You can also drill first-grade students on fact families, which combine addition and subtraction facts. A fact family example is 3+2, 2+3, 5-2, 5-3. In first-grade fact families (+, -) up to 10 is a reasonable amount to learn.

2nd Grader Math Drills

If addition skills from first-grade are mastered, then drilling on subtraction facts 1s through 9s are the top priority. Once those are learned, students will benefit from drilling up to the 20s in subtraction, such as 17-5 or 19-8. You can also drill second-grade students on fact families, which combine addition and subtraction facts. In second-grade, once fact families up to 10 are mastered, you can drill them on fact families from 11, such as 8+5, 5+8, 13-5, 13-8. Skip counting, or counting by a number (such as by fours- 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, 28, 32, 36, 40), is useful to learn in second-grade. Also, second-grade is not too soon to begin drilling students on identifying fractions.

3rd Grader Math Drills

Starting in third-grade multiplication facts is essential from this point onward and can’t be counted on fingers. The basic multiplication facts 1 through 9 must be memorized and drills are the only way to do that. Even if addition and subtraction are not yet mastered it is essential to get multiplication facts learned. Then you can go back and pick up addition and subtraction.

Alternatively, or additionally, students can begin drilling on fact families in multiplication and division. An example of this kind of fact family is 4 x5 , 5 x 4, 20 ÷ 4, 20 ÷ 5. Fact families up to 20 are enough in third-grade.

After multiplication facts 1 through 9, you can move on to drilling the 10s-11s-12s. Also, Identifying Fractions is something that third-grade students can become fluent in. Factors (finding all the factors of a number) can be drilled at this grade level or any time in the next three years.

4th Grader Math Drills

In fourth-grade, it is essential that multiplication facts 1s through 9s are in place first before drilling on division facts. Students will quickly realize division facts are just the opposite of multiplication facts. Once division facts 1s through 9s are learned, you should go back and make sure that addition and subtraction are mastered. After addition and subtraction facts are automatic, then start students on multiplication 10s-11s-12s and division 10s-11s-12s. Once all of these are mastered, students can work on either identifying fractions or factors. Another skill that can greatly help students in later grades is memorizing equivalent fractions.

5th Grader Math Drills

Students in fifth-grade or higher should be fluent in all these basic math areas: multiplication (1s through 9s), addition (1s through 9s), subtraction (1s through 9s), and division (1s through 9s). These can be strengthened by doing fact families with each of these operations: fact families (+, -) to 10, fact families (+, -) from 11, fact families (x, ÷) to 20, and fact families (x, ÷) from 21. Once these are done, students can start drilling on factors, identifying fractions, equivalent fractions, then learning to add and subtract integers. Then the students can start multiplication 10s-11s-12s and division 10s-11s-12s. The same sequence applies in any grade after fifth. The more facts learned in math to the level of automaticity, the easier the rest of math will be.

 

How Can Rocket Math Online Game Help Your Child Learn?

The Rocket Math Online Game provides the right amount of drill to help your child learn these basic skills. Providing plenty of practice, it is timed and requires students to recall facts (answering within 3 seconds) before moving on to learn more facts. They work their way up through 26 sets, from Set A to Set Z, learning more facts as they go along. The game provides many milestones of progress, lots of little breaks and congratulations as students progress through the twelve Learning Tracks. You can place your child in these tracks in the order you choose. The Rocket Math Online Game includes the following twelve Learning Tracks.

  1. Addition 1s through 9s
  2. Subtraction 1s through 9s
  3. Multiplication 1s through 9s
  4. Division 1s through 9s
  5. Fact Families (+, -) to 10, ex.4+6, 6+4, 10-4, 10-6
  6. Fact Families (+, -) from 11, ex. 5+6, 6+5, 11-6, 11-5.
  7. Add to 20, example 13+4, 4+13,
  8. Subtract from 20, example 15-3, 15-12,
  9. Multiplication 10s-11s-12s,
  10. Division 10s-11s-12s.
  11. Fact Families (x, ÷) to 20, example 4×5, 5×4, 20÷4, 20÷5
  12. Fact Families (x, ÷) from 21, example 3×7, 7×3, 21÷3, 21÷7

See a video of how it teaches here.

The Rocket Math Worksheet Program also provides math drills

Math drills are important for setting your students up for success later in life. Help them build their automaticity and become fluent in the basic math facts through Rocket Math Worksheet Program. The Rocket Math Worksheet Program includes more Learning tracks than the Online Games and you can use this program to help your students with basic math skills.

Here is a list of the worksheets in the Rocket Math Worksheet Program.

Math Fact Benchmarks: Why Writing Speed Matters

Math drills are used to help students learn their basic single-digit math facts. The goal is to help students answer basic math facts from recall and develop automaticity. The only way to tell if a student is recalling the answer rather than figuring it out is by using timed math drills as benchmarks. But students cannot learn how to recall a full page of math facts by drilling on them. The drills will likely cause anxiety and frustration for students. Here are some common pitfalls that are wise to avoid when teaching students basic single-digit facts.  

Common Problems With Math Benchmarks 

Schools typically set “benchmarks” to evaluate whether students have achieved their educational goals.  When it comes to math fact memorization, schools will set benchmarks to distinguish between knowing the answers by a quick recall from the slow process of figuring out the facts. There are two main problems with these benchmarks.

Learned one at a time. 

The first problem is that math facts are learned individually and students meet the benchmark one problem at a time. The benchmark should be to answer a problem in less than a second. If they can, then it would be clear which math facts a student has memorized and which ones they don’t. It is more common for schools to give tests on all the facts in an operation and these tests can’t tell the schools which facts are memorized. A more meaningful report would be which facts in an operation can a student answer instantly.

 

Time to write the answer. 

The second main problem is that no matter how well students know facts, they cannot write answers to facts any faster than they can write. Elementary students vary in speed and can write answers anywhere from 10 answers in a minute to 50 in a minute. If a student can answer 40 problems in a minute, they have achieved mastery of math facts. But if they can’t write answers that quickly, they can not meet their school’s benchmark. In order to set a reasonable standard, teachers need to know how fast students can write and a writing speed test will help determine this.

Common Core Math Fact Fluency Need Not Cause Anguish

The Common Core Idea says that students must have a quick recall of math facts to progress successfully in math. For some reason, almost all children have memorized 2+2=4 and can answer this problem from recall. It is not stressful or hard and will not cause math phobia. So, we know that learning how to answer a math problem instantly from recall is doable and can be done without being stressful. The challenge is that there are a lot of facts to learn, but taken a few at a time, they can all be learned equally easily. 

To do this though, it takes a systematic effort, daily practice, and careful monitoring. Teachers need a facts program of some kind to help their students commit a large number of facts to memory. Before developing the design principles behind Rocket Math, I had thought this was a nearly impossible task. But in the last 20 years, I have seen how Rocket Math has been used successfully to teach math facts to students. With plenty of time, patience, and encouragement, students can learn to recall math facts from memory and with Rocket Math they can do this while having fun.

Rocket Math Writing Speed Test

 The writing speed test for Rocket Math

Here is a simple easy-to-use Writing Speed Test to help figure out how fast a student is able to answer when they have all the facts in an operation memorized. The test is a mix of one and two-digit numbers so it works with addition and multiplication. 

Simply give the test to your students and have them write the numbers they see in each box for one minute. You will be able to find out how many boxes they can complete in one minute. That number is the upper limit of math fact problems you can expect them to be able to answer–if they are answering from recall rather than by figuring them out.

Writing speed is number of boxes completed. 

When the student has finished the test, you will have the number of boxes they can complete in a minute. You can expect the student to be able to finish at least 80% of that number if they can recall the facts instantly.  If the student can answer 90%, they don’t need any fact work. If they are between 80 and 90% of that number, they are good, but more facts work would help them. Anything below 80% and they are having to stop to figure out some of the facts and need more work.

If you’re not interested in doing the math over and over, here is a goal sheet for pre-tests, where the numbers are worked out for you. You can print it from this link.

Benchmarks must be based on writing speed. 

Benchmarks that don’t take into account the speed at which children can write, leave a lot of children with an impossible expectation. Asking children to do something they are physically incapable of doing will cause a lot of unnecessary anguish.   

 

 

Kindergarten Math Benchmarks

Students should be taught how to write numerals correctly and efficiently in kindergarten. The methods of drawing numerals that children invent on their own can be slow, cumbersome, and inefficient – causing them to have a slow writing speed later. Rocket Math Writing for Numerals is a systematic method that will help students learn how to form their numerals. Benchmarks for kindergarteners should focus on the speed of writing numerals, which takes a good amount of practice and instruction.

Kindergarten Numeral Writing Fluency Benchmarks (digits)

    • Mid-year       
      • 20 digits per minute        
    • End of year     
      • 40 digits /minute       

First-grade Math Benchmarks

First-grade students need to be fluent in writing numerals. Not every kindergarten does this, so teachers should test and give some kind of numeral writing program to students who do not meet these writing standards.

First Grade Numeral Writing Fluency Benchmarks (digits)

    • Start of year  
      • 40 digits per minute               
    •  Mid-year   
      • 60 digits per minute                         
    •  End of year     
      • 60 digits per minute

We also want first-graders to learn addition facts to the level of instant recall. The student’s writing speed is the number of boxes they can complete in one minute.   

First Grade Math Fact Fluency Benchmarks (problems)

    • Start of year   
      • Addition 20% of writing speed   
    •  Mid-year  
      • Addition 40% of writing speed    
    • End of year  
      • Addition 80% of writing speed  
      • Subtraction 20% of writing speed 

Second-grade Math Benchmarks

In second-grade we want students to master subtraction facts as well as addition.  

    • Start of year  
      • Addition 80% of writing speed  
    • Mid-year   
      • Addition 80% of writing speed 
      • Subtraction 40% of writing speed
    • End of Year
      • Addition 80% of writing speed
      • Subtraction 80% of writing speed

Third-grade Math Benchmarks

In third-grade it is important that students master subtraction and begin working on multiplication. 

    • Start of year 
      • Addition 80% of writing speed  
      • Subtraction 80% of writing speed 
    • Mid-year 
      • Addition 80% of writing speed 
      • Subtraction 80% of writing speed 
      • Multiplication 40% of writing speed
    • End of year 
      • Addition 80% of writing speed  
      • Subtraction 80% of writing speed 
      • Multiplication 80% of writing speed

Fourth-grade Math Benchmarks

In fourth-grade it is important for the students to have multiplication mastered and begin division.

    • Start of the Year
      • Addition 80% of writing speed
      • Subtraction 80% of writing speed
      • Multiplication 80% of writing speed
    • Mid-year   
      • Addition 80% of writing speed 
      • Subtraction 80% of writing speed
      • Multiplication 80% of writing speed
      • Division 40% of writing speed  
    • End of year 
      • Addition 80% of writing speed  
      • Subtraction 80% of writing speed
      • Multiplication 80% of writing speed
      • Division 80% of writing speed

Fifth-grade (and up) math fact benchmarks

In fifth-grade it is important for the students to have mastered their basic math facts in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

    • Start of year  
      • Addition 80% of writing speed  
      • Subtraction 80% of writing speed
      • Multiplication 80% of writing speed
      • Division 80% of writing speed
    •  
    •  
    • Mid-year  
      •  Addition 80% of writing speed 
      • Subtraction 80% of writing speed
      • Multiplication 80% of writing speed
      • Division 80% of writing speed  
    • End of year 
      • Addition 80% of writing speed
      • Subtraction 80% of writing speed
      • Multiplication 80% of writing speed
      • Division 80% of writing speed                      

All the 1-minute pre-tests and the writing speed tests and the goal sheet can be found on this page https://rocketmath.com/pre-tests/.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rocket Math Is A Fun Way For Students To Learn

Rocket Math has a systematic approach to teaching students how to become fluent in basic math facts and still have fun learning math. Math can seem daunting to learn and if not taught properly, using a good math program, students can build a math phobia. Teachers have been using Rocket Math for over 20 years now and believe it to be an invaluable tool to help their students learn math. 

 

Math Facts Practice Online: Add, Subtract, Multiply, Divide

Searching for a program to practice math facts online that will help your learner power through their math facts and have fun?

Rocket Math Online Game offers effective addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division practice, and students have a blast doing it! Why do they love the game? The game helps students quickly and methodically memorize math facts, which means less frustration and more fun! The game also shows students their progress with exciting, rocket ship-themed graphics and audio to keep them motivated to learn more. It turns out that students learn better and are more motivated to continue when they can clearly see their progress. Who knew?

How Rocket Math’s online math game works

Too many children still count on their fingers to figure out basic addition facts. If a child continues to spend hours counting on their fingers, it is a sure way to make them hate math. Professors of education frequently teach that “all rote learning is bad for children.” This is not true when it comes to math facts. Memorizing basic facts is a necessary step (to free up working memory) on the path to higher-order thinking in math, and by skipping math fact memorization, teachers are handicapping their students. As a result of the dogma against memorization, few new teachers have any idea how to effectively help their students memorize.

For example, giving students a worksheet full of problems that they haven’t been able to memorize isn’t going to help. Nor will a computer practice game that randomly gives problems for students to solve. A good math program will provide students with a few math facts at a time to work through before adding more. 

Student with Rocket Chart filled out

Rocket Math Online Game does just this. Starting with two math facts and their reverse, the game won’t let the student move on until they can answer these math problems instantly. Rocket Math Online Game will then gradually, carefully, and systematically add new facts to those already learned. Students have to answer in 3 seconds or less, or they have to do that part over until they can answer the math fact immediately. They will work through set A to set Z with 26 levels in three phases; Take-Off, Orbit, and Universe. Each time they complete a set, the tile for that set explodes and falls away. As students progress through the levels, they can fill out the Rocket Chart to see their progress and stay motivated. 

Addition Math Facts Practice in Rocket Math Online Game

First-grade students should begin working on the first Learning Track: Addition 1s through 9s math facts and have all those facts memorized first. With Rocket Math Online Game, there are three Learning Tracks to choose from for your first-grade class.

  • The Basic Learning Track
    • 1. Addition 1s through 9s
  • The Alternative Learning Track: learning addition and subtraction facts in families
    • 5. Fact Families (+, -) to 10
  • Optional Learning Track
    • 7. Add to 20

If you notice a student is taking more than a week to pass a level in sets A-Z of Addition 1s through 9s, that’s a sign for you to intervene. Often this means that the child is struggling and needs to practice more. They need to logon and practice at home in addition to their practice in school. The first graders who can finish the Learning Track for Addition 1s though 9s, can move on to the Optional Learning Track, Add to 20. Advanced first graders who are very quickly mastering facts can certainly move into the Learning Tracks recommended below for 2nd grade.  

There is an alternative sequence of learning addition and subtraction facts, through Fact Families.  Fact Families introduces addition and subtraction facts at the same time in “families” such as 1+3, 3+1, 4-3, 4-1. Because the facts are introduced in families students are able to switch back and forth between addition and subtraction as they are learning. Rocket Math breaks up the fact families into a Learning Track with addition and subtraction facts up to 10 to begin in first grade and then a second Learning Track of facts from 11 that follows after, either in first grade or second.   

Subtraction Math Facts Practice in Rocket Math Online Game

Many teachers think subtraction facts are harder for children to learn.The reason they seem harder to learn is that most children don’t fully master addition before they start memorizing subtraction facts. When that happens, the two operations interfere with one another (officially, it’s known as proactive and retroactive inhibition), and subtraction facts become harder to learn.

Students who work through the addition sets in Rocket Math Online Game, will not find this to be a problem. Once the student has mastered the addition facts, they will quickly recognize that subtraction facts are “the opposite” of addition. The interference does not happen, and the students will feel good about their progress and learn to do computation with ease. 

Rocket Math Online Game offers these Learning Tracks for second graders to master subtraction:

  • The Basic Learning Tracks
    • 1. Addition 1s through 9s
    • 2. Subtraction 1s through 9s
  • The Alternative Learning Tracks: learning addition and subtraction facts in families
    • 5. Fact Families (+, -) to 10
    • 6. Fact Families (+, -) from 11
  • Optional Learning Tracks
    • 7. Add to 20
    • 8. Subtract from 20

Second graders who did not learn addition Math Facts in first grade must focus on addition facts first. After they have gotten through Set Z of addition, they can move on to 2. Subtraction 1s through 9s.

Second-grade students who complete addition and subtraction 1s-9s can start Add to 20 and then go on to Subtracting from 20. 

As noted above,  learning by fact families is an alternative route to learning basic addition and subtraction facts.  The first Learning Track would be #5 Fact Families (+, -) to 10 followed by #6 Fact Families (+, -) from 11. 

 

Multiplication Math Facts Practice in Rocket Math Online Game

Being able to multiply is harder than addition or subtraction because you can’t count on your fingers. While it is necessary for students to memorize the “times facts,” they are seldom systematically taught. Preservice teachers are frequently taught that “rote learning is bad for children.” This is not true, but as a result, most new teachers have no idea how to effectively help their students memorize. Memorizing basic facts is a necessary step (to free up working memory) on the path to higher-order thinking in math, and by skipping math fact memorization, teachers are handicapping their students.

Rocket Math Online Game offers these Learning Tracks for third graders to master multiplication: 

 

 

  • The Basic Learning Tracks
    • 3. Multiplication 1s through 9s (priority)
    • 1. Addition 1s through 9s (if still not mastered)
    • 2. Subtraction 1s through 9s (if still not mastered)
  • The Alternative Learning Track: learning multiplication and division facts in families
    • 11. Fact Families (x,÷) to 20 
  • Optional Learning Track
    • 9. Multiplication 10s-11s-12s 

In third grade, multiplication has priority, and students must master it first even if they have not mastered addition and subtraction. Higher-level math students who may not have mastered addition and subtraction will only be crippled more without learning multiplication. Once the student has mastered multiplication, then go back and work on mastering addition and subtraction. When students have mastered all three of these basic operations, they can move on to 9. Multiplication 10s-11s-12s. And of course, advanced third graders who have learned the concept of division can move into the Learning Tracks recommended below for fourth grade students.  

There is an alternative sequence of learning multiplication and division facts, through Fact Families.  Fact Families introduces multiplication and division facts at the same time in “families” such as 4×5, 5×4, 20÷4, 20÷5. Because the facts are introduced in families students are able to switch back and forth between multiplication and division as they are learning.  Rocket Math breaks up the multiplication and division fact families into facts up to 20 to begin in third grade and then a second Learning Track of facts from 20 follows after, either in third grade or fourth.

Division Math Facts Practice in Rocket Math Online Game

The key to learning division facts is to learn them gradually. Students should work a few minutes at a time and then take a break. Rocket Math Online Game has students work for five minutes at a time (although the teacher can increase it to 10 or 15 minutes if the student wants it), and then the game pauses for a 20-minute break. Breaks will help keep students from becoming tired of the game and ensure they want to keep playing. Learning Math Facts is a marathon, not a sprint, so we want them to do Rocket Math once or twice a day for a few months. That’s how they will come to master the math facts.

Typically, students learn division in fourth or fifth grade, but they can learn it earlier if they understand the concept. Division isn’t harder than multiplication, but it will be if students have not mastered multiplication first. That’s why having students work through Set Z of multiplication before starting division is essential.

Here are the Learning Tracks offered by Rocket Math Online Game:

 

 

  • The Basic Learning Tracks
    • 3. Multiplication 1s through 9s (priority)
    • 4. Division 1s through 9s (secondary priority)
  • The Alternative Learning Tracks: learning multiplication and division facts in families
    • 11. Fact Families (x,÷) to 20 
    • 12. Fact Families (x,÷) from 21
  • Optional Learning Tracks
    • 9. Multiplication 10s-11s-12s
    • 10. Division 10s-11s-12s

When they have mastered multiplication and the 1s-9s of division, students can go on to Multiplication 10s-11s-12s and Division 10s-11s-12s.

As noted above, learning by fact families is an alternative route to learning basic multiplication and division facts.  The first Learning Track would be #11 Fact Families (x,÷) to 20 followed by #12 Fact Families (x,÷) from 21. 

Rocket Math Online Game – The Best Tool to Learn Math Facts

Mastering the basic facts in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division will not only help students succeed in school, but are essential skills to have outside of the classroom. If you want your students to be successful at math and enjoy learning, memorizing these math facts is vital. With Rocket Math Online Game, your students will be engaged and excited to play. Students will be able to see their progress, celebrate their wins, and take pride in what they learn. It doesn’t take much to motivate your students, just a sincere recognition of their achievement. They will know when they have accomplished something, and if you recognize it as well, then they will feel proud of themselves.

There’s a free two-week trial of the Rocket Math Online Game so you can see for yourself how well it works and how students love it.

Strategies for teaching automaticity of math facts

Above are students playing our Race for the Stars game.  This game prompts everyone to race against each other and the clock to answer 24 fact problems as fast as they can.  This activity can help develop automaticity of math facts. Not all activities in which students “practice” answering math facts will help develop automaticity.  In fact, a lot of math fact practice activities require students to “figure out” math facts over and over. Automaticity only comes about through recall.  Recall is instantaneous, whereas “figuring out” takes time. All the activities that give students “time” to derive the fact will not help develop automaticity.

What is automaticity?

high school marching band with brass instruments and drumsAutomaticity is the level of learning you have achieved when you can do something accurately and quickly while you are doing something else.  It is “automatic” because you don’t have to stop and think about it; you can do it while concentrating on something else. As the picture illustrates, you need to develop automaticity to function in a marching band, which is why it takes a lot of practice.  You have to march while simultaneously playing music and keep up with everyone else. That takes automaticity.

 

What is automaticity good for?

tools to build math fact fluencyIn academics, students use certain “tool skills” while they are multitasking.  These tool skills must become automatic so students can use them without thinking.  One tool skill is decoding in reading–getting the words off the page. That has to be automatic so the reader can focus on the message of the material they are reading.  Spelling is another tool skill that has to be automatic. A student who is writing something should not be distracted by trying to remember how to spell the words they are writing.

 

Why is automaticity of math facts important?

A student figuring out math facts slowlyIn math, the tool skill that must be automatic is remembering math facts.  Students must be able to recall the answer to single digit facts like 9 + 7 while simultaneously doing more complex problems.  They need to be able to recall those facts without losing their place in what they are computing, just like a member of a marching band.

No matter how clever the strategy for remembering a math fact, if it is not recalled instantly and automatically, it disrupts the thinking process of the learner.  The steps in the overall math procedure will become confusing, or the point of the computation may be lost. Strategies for developing automaticity must guard against allowing students to repeatedly “figure out” facts and must direct them to “just remember” the fact.  This can be a surprise for some teachers and some students!

Practice strategies that develop automaticity of math facts

Two students participating in one of Rocket Math's math fluency programsStudents can recall some facts instantly but have not yet learned others enough to be recalled instantly.  New math facts are learned one at a time. Although most students can work on memorizing three or four new facts at a time, if the facts are too similar, even three will be too many.

The best method of practice is to read problems aloud and say the answer from memory.  If there is any hesitation after the problem is read aloud (which gives the learner enough time to remember) then extra practice is needed on that fact.  The procedure should happen immediately, as there is no time to waste. The learner needs to understand that the goal is to instantly recall facts, rather than puzzle them out. 

Figuring out math facts will not develop automaticity

Rocket Math mobile math fact game interfaceAllowing students extended time to work out the answer to a math fact teaches the wrong lesson.  If there is any hesitation in answering, extra practice should involve being told the fact and the answer immediately (no more puzzling it out, is the message!).  After hearing the correct answer, the learner should say the problem and the answer aloud two or three times. They should then go on and practice two or three different problems before returning to the problem that the learner was slow to answer.  And finally, the learner should try to answer the first math fact again, this time without any hesitation. This process of being told the answer, trying to commit it to memory and trying to recall it a few seconds later will develop automaticity of math facts. Consistently allowing students extended time to figure out facts will not lead to automaticity.

Similarly, the Rocket Math Online Game only allows students 3 seconds to input an answer.  If they can’t answer instantly, automatically, then the game shows, “Time’s Up!”  and Mission Control says, “You gotta be faster!” Next, the game gives the student extra practice on that fact and starts them over in the part.  The game expects automaticity of math facts and teaches students that they can in fact do that.

Students will be able to remember and recall the answer, as long as only a couple of new facts are introduced at a time.  They will come to realize that instant recall is possible, and that is their goal. Once they can recall facts without having to figure them out, math will become a breeze.

Use Rocket Math’s automatic response worksheets for testing not teaching

The Rocket Math Worksheet Program has students practice in pairs as described above.  Then each day the pair will do timed or “automatic response” worksheets—but as a test.  The worksheets proceed from A to Z as students learn more facts in the operation. Each worksheet only tests the facts introduced thus far.  Students practice the same set of facts, using the oral procedure outlined above until all of the facts introduced thus far are automatic.

Rocket Math Addition Set D Worksheet that develops automaticity of math factsWhat facts are on each math worksheet matter.  A worksheet cannot contain a mix of all of the facts in an operation; you cannot expect facts to become automatic by doing the sheet repetitively. No one can learn 80 facts at once.  The curriculum must break down the facts in an operation into bite-size pieces so that students can practice and learn them. You see here set D, which has added 7+1 and 8+1 and their reverses as new facts.  The One-Minute Test only presents the facts learned up through set D. For the first couple of days, the student will not be able to answer all the facts instantly; but after a few days of practice, the students will be automatic with all the facts.  Then the student will pass the set. The curriculum should add more facts to be learned in the next set.

Slow and steady wins the race. It takes months to learn all of the facts in an operation to the level of automaticity, but everyone can do it.

 

Both programs for one teacher and class for one low price.

Choose #2500 both programs for your class for $88 and get a bonus

$88 Individual Both Programs (30 seats) subscription

Tried-and-true Rocket Math fact fluency worksheets

[A $49 value] Our Rocket Math Worksheet Program has students practice daily with a partner, take a One-Minute Test, and move up the Rocket Chart based on the ten-minutes per day pencil-and-paper activities.  Teachers have been relying on this program and getting gratifying results for decades.  This subscription will give you access to the Rocket Math filing cabinet and all of the hundreds of worksheets available to print from our virtual filing cabinet.  

 

30 seats for the Online Game develops math fact fluency in a fast-paced format

 

 

[A $60 value] In 2018, Rocket Math added an Online Game for students to play on any device and learn math facts.  This package will give access to up to 30 students in your classroom.  The regular price for 30 students is $2 per student for the year.

In the Online Game, students login and practice and work through levels A to Z the same as in the Worksheet Program. If a student takes longer than 3 seconds to answer a fact, the program treats it as a hesitation and gives more practice on that fact.  The program responds to hesitations by telling the student the problem and answer, asking them to enter the correct answer, then giving them the problem again a few seconds later. 

Students can also login in at home and practice there.  The Rocket Math Online Game is very intense, so learners can only work for five minutes at a time, and then the game makes them take a 30-minute break.  Although the game is challenging (or maybe because it is hard), students are very motivated by seeing their progress.  They can tell that they are learning and they feel good about their accomplishments.  

 

You can monitor the development of math fact fluency in the game

The teacher can monitor progress (as you can see below).  The teacher can see if students are logging on at home, see their level of difficulty, and change them to a different one of the ten learning tracks available.  Easy to set up a program of recognition for students who practice at home.  

Bonus: Wall Charts visually track development of math fact fluency

[An $18 value] As a bonus in this package Rocket Math will send you a Rocket Math Wall Chart. This chart comes with stickers for students to post each time they pass a level in Rocket Math.  It has goal arrows, so the teacher can set goals for the class with rewards for filling up the chart to a certain point.  This enables the students to work together to achieve goals and celebrate their success as a group.  Also comes with directions on how to use it to best advantage.   

This chart is a very motivating for students as they are developing math fact fluency and builds team spirit with your class. 

Identifying Fractions: Creating fluent mathematicians

Fractions are unnecessarily hard for students to understand.  The reason?  Not enough practice with identifying a wide enough variety of fractions and ways of displaying them.  Rocket Math has introduced a great solution as part of the Universal Level Worksheet subscription–a new program called Identifying Fractions.

Identifying Fractions: Not just proper fractions anymore.

One of the most powerful aspects of the Identifying Fractions program is that it is not limited to showing proper fractions.  Right from the beginning of Set A, students are introduced to improper fractions and mixed numbers.  They are taught the fundamental understanding that the bottom number tells you how many parts each whole is divided into.  At the same time, if the whole is not divided into parts, then we represent it as a whole number.  Finally, the top number tells how many parts are shaded (or used) regardless of whether that is more than 1 whole or less than one whole.  Identifying fractions that include improper fractions and mixed numbers from the beginning insures that students really understand fractions and don’t accidentally acquire the misrule that fractions are always less than one.

Identifying Fractions: Learn to speak their names also

Without a lot of oral practice students do not always know how to say the names of fractions.  Identifying fractions introduces three fractions in each set and includes the words for how to say them.  In the example here one half, three halves, and one and one half are written out at the top of the page.  This is all that is practiced as part of this first set.  This way, orally practicing with a partner means saying the names of the fractions, which are shown at the top of the page.  Students are not asked to say any fractions they haven’t seen written out first.

The fractions that students become familiar with include, halves, thirds, quarters, fifths, sixths, eighths, tenths and twelfths.  They see improper fractions and mixed number with every denominator.

Identifying Fractions: It’s not the shape that matters

When students don’t have a lot of practice with identifying fractions they may not see different shapes being divided into the same number of parts.  In Identifying Fractions we make a point of showing each fraction with at least three different shapes.  In this example you see thirds in a circle, in a cube shape, and as upright rectangles making a larger rectangle.  All of those are equally “thirds” because each whole figure is divided into three parts.  So there are three different shapes for halves, fourths, fifths and sixths.

By the time students are introduced to eighths, tenths and twelfths, they have already learned the rule that the shape doesn’t matter.

When students are eventually introduced to eighths, tenths and twelfths we don’t want to slow them down by having to laboriously count the number of parts in each figure.  As you can see to the left, the eighths are displayed as two sets of four rectangles on top of each other.  Eighths are always displayed that way, so they are easy to identify quickly.  Tenths are consistently displayed as two columns of five blocks with little numbers in them. (I know it’s a little weird, but it works to make them easily identifiable.) Twelfths are always shown as three sets of four rectangles on each other.  Students should notice these conventions so they can quickly identify the number of parts in those figures without having to count them.

Identifying Fractions:  Advanced students can fit in during Rocket Math routine

Identifying Fractions follows the standard Rocket Math routine.  Each student practices orally with the partner for a couple of minutes.  Then the two switch roles.  Finally everyone takes a 1 minute Daily Test.  A student in Identifying Fractions can be paired with any student in any other Rocket Math program as long as the student has an answer key to hand to their checker. Hopefully you remembered to print the answers on colored paper.

Unlike other Rocket Math programs, the test and the practice items are the same.  Of course, the students have a page without the answers, while their checker holds the answer key. Students practice by saying aloud to their partner the fractions shown in the test.  Then they take the test on those same items, but write the answer.

Identifying fractions has its own writing speed test, to be sure that student goals are individualized to their writing speed.  By the time students complete Set Z in this program they will have a strong understanding of fractions that will be fluent.  There are even 2-minute timings you can give every week or two for them to chart their progress as they get faster.  This is a great program for students of any grade from second grade on up who have finished the basics for their grade level.  It will really put them in good shape when dealing with fractions in later years.

 

Use Rocket Math Worksheet Program or Online Game or both for math fact fluency?

Rocket Math now has added an Online Game to its tried-and-true Worksheet Program.  Customers ask, “Which should I use?  Should I use both?”

Dr. Don’s answer is “Yes, I do recommend using both.  As that opinion may appear self-serving, here’s why.”

1) Online Game is an easier route to math fact fluency.

Most students begin passing levels in the Online Game right away.  They find it quicker and easier and can sometimes pass more than one level in a day.  This gives the students a taste of success.  The Online Game helps them realize they can learn facts and make progress almost from the first day.  Students are then more willing to do the Worksheet Program as well.  Rarely, there are a few younger students who cannot input answers within 3 seconds.  They won’t be able to pass levels and will have to start over many times on the Online Game.  When monitoring them in the Online Game, such students will have difficulty scores over 3.  If that’s the case, the Worksheet Program is more flexible and they may prefer that.  But for most students, with difficulty scores below 2 in the Online Game, they will require a lot less practice to pass levels with the Online Game than in the Worksheet Program.

2) Start with the easier implementation of the Online Game.

The Online Game is easier for teachers to get started using.  Teachers don’t have to print out worksheets, maintain files and organize student pairs so they actually practice with the Online Game.  It is therefore easier to implement.  Less than enthusiastic teachers, who might not start Worksheet Program, will at least start doing the Online Game. After they see the success of the Online Game and students’ enthusiasm, they will then be more willing to do Worksheet Program.

3) Online Game is easier for parents to support.

Both Worksheet Program and Online Game can be done at home.  The Worksheet Program’s homework component is for students to bring home the worksheet on which they tested that day, and practice with a parent or sibling, the same way they practiced in school.  That takes someone’s time.  The Online Game only requires access to a device, and once the student logs in, the computer does the correcting and rewarding.  So the Online Game is easier for parents to do and so gets a foot in the door.  Once they see their child’s success and enthusiasm, then parents are then more willing to do Worksheet Program as well. Which will provide more and better learning.

4) Worksheet Program more rigorously develops math fact fluency.

Two students participating in one of Rocket Math's math fluency programsCompared to the Online Game, the Worksheet Program is a bit harder to pass a level.  Students have to practice with their partner more time before they pass, so students learn facts better with it. They are more solid in their knowledge of facts when they are done with an operation like multiplication in the Worksheet Program than they are if they just run through multiplication in the Online Game.  Which is a reason not to do the Online Game only.  Of course, students are even stronger in their facts when they practice with both.

5) Worksheet Program will generalize to computation more readily.

The purpose of learning math facts is to make it easier for students to learn and do basic computation.  Math work is written, so the Worksheet Program (which is also written) is closer to how math facts will be used.  That means the Worksheet Program will generalize better to computation assignments.  You will see a bigger benefit to students doing math assignments when they finish the Worksheet Program than with the Online Game.  Which is yet another reason to do both programs.

6) Doing both develops math fact fluency twice.

Because students are moving through the two programs at different rates, they get two passes at learning the facts.  That means they are getting twice as much learning.  The facts will be known better and more readily called to mind during computation when both programs are done.

Two math fact fluency programs from Rocket Math for one low price

Choose both programs for the Whole School for $695

Whole School Both Program subscription

Tried-and-true Rocket Math fact fluency worksheets

[A $300 value] Our Rocket Math Worksheet Program has students practice daily with a partner, take a One-Minute Test, and move up the Rocket Chart based on the ten-minutes per day pencil-and-paper activities.  Teachers have been relying on this program and getting gratifying results for decades.  This subscription will give all the teachers in your building access to the Rocket Math filing cabinet and all of the hundreds of worksheets available to print from our virtual filing cabinet.  Purchased by itself the All Teacher Universal Worksheet Program costs $300.

Online Game develops math fact fluency in a fast-paced format

 

 

[A $400 to $900 value] In 2018, Rocket Math added an Online Game for students to play on any device and learn math facts.  This package will give access to all the students in your school, without regard to how many there are.  The regular price for 100 or more students is $1 per student for the year. So if your school has fewer than 395 students in your building, you want to buy the programs separately.

In the Online Game, students login and practice and work through levels A to Z the same as in the Worksheet Program. If a student takes longer than 3 seconds to answer a fact, the program treats it as a hesitation and gives more practice on that fact.  The program responds to hesitations by telling the student the problem and answer, asking them to enter the correct answer, then giving them the problem again a few seconds later. 

The Rocket Math Online Game is very intense, so learners can only work for five minutes at a time, and then the game makes them take a 30-minute break.  Although the game is challenging (or maybe because it is hard), students are very motivated by seeing their progress.  They can tell that they are learning and they feel good about their accomplishments.  

 

Teachers can monitor the development of math fact fluency in the game

The teacher can monitor progress (as you can see below).  The teacher can see if students are logging on at home, see their level of difficulty, and change them to a different one of the ten learning tracks available.