## Rocket Math’s Foolproof Method to Finding Factors (A.K.A. Factor Pairs)

In order for a student to expand or reduce fractions or to add and subtract unlike fractions, they need to know how to find factors for each number in the fraction. Students may know multiplication facts, but still, find it difficult to come up with all the possible factor pairs for a given number. The key to helping students with this task is to teach students a systematic method of identifying all factor pairs and then committing both the process and some common numbers to memory.

Both the Rocket Math Online Game and Worksheet Program uses a foolproof, systematic method for teaching students how to find all the factors of a number. By reading this article, you’ll learn what factors are, how to help students find all the factors systematically, and how both the game and worksheets incorporate the method into each program.

## What are Factors of a Number

Factors of a number, such as 12, are pairs of whole numbers whose product is that number. For example, 2 x 6 = 12, 12 is the product, and the factor pair is 2 x 6. Other factor pairs for 12 include 1 x 12 and 3 x 4 because multiplied together, each of those factor pairs equals 12.

## Finding Factors: How do You Know When You Have Found all of them?

Identifying some of the factors of a target number isn’t hard, but knowing when you have accounted for ALL the factors can be hard for students. Rocket Math’s Worksheet Program helps students find and memorize all the factors for 22 common numbers. Watch this video to see how Dr. Don uses the worksheet program to teach students how to find all of a number’s factors in a systematic way.

1. The best method for teaching students how to find factor pairs is to have them start at 1 and work their way up. Give your students a target number and ask them to put “1 x” below it. Let them fill in the right side with the number itself. We know that any number has one “factor pair” of 1 times itself.
2. Then ask them to move on to 2, and ask themselves, “What number times 2 equals the target number?” If the target number is even, there will be a number on the right-hand side of that pair. If the target number is odd (like 15), there won’t be, and the student should cross out the 2, as it is not a factor of the target number.
3. Next, the student moves on to 3. They ask themselves, “What number times 3 equals 15?” Because 3 x 5 equals 15, students write 5 down because that is the next factor pairing 15.
4. Next, students move on to 4. They ask themselves, “What number times 4 equals 15?” When students run across a number that is not a factor of the target number, they should cross it out. So they cross out the 4.
5. The next number is 5, but it is already showing on the right side of the factor pairs. When that happens, students can be sure they have found all the factor pairs of the target number.

In the end, students will be left with a list of factor pairs that multiply to create the target and a list of crossed-out numbers that are not factors.

## Rocket Math Online Game – Finding Factors & Primes Track

Building on what the Worksheet Program has to offer students, Learning Track #15 (Factors & Primes) of the Rocket Math Online Game helps students systematically identify, practice, and memorize factor pairs of every number from 2 through 40 and 42, 45, 48, 49, 50, 64, 72, 75, and 100.

### Students answer with the NEXT factor pair in order

The Learning Track Factors and Primes has a unique way of teaching students the factors. Students learn the factor pairs, in order, starting with 1 and itself. For example the factor pairs of 36, in order, are 1 x 36, 2 x 18, 3 x 12, 4 x 9 and 6 x 6.   Students are shown some factor pairs in the display (see problems displayed in N.1 through O.1). They must either enter the next factor pair in order or hit the checkmark if there are no more pairs. You can see the five problems that deal with the factors of 36 that students encounter in the Factors and Primes Learning Track.

When students see problem N.1 displaying “Factors of 36, 1 x 36” they learn that the next factor pair is 2 x 18, so they enter a 2, a 1, and an 8, and the game displays them as shown.  If the student does not enter the next correct factor pair, the game’s audio voice recording (called Mission Control) says, “The factors of 36, in order, are 1 times 36 then, 2 times 18. Go again.” The game then provides an opportunity to answer that problem again, twice, and then interspersed with other problems, twice more before the game considers that pair of factors learned.

When students see problem O.1 they see all the factor pairs of 36 displayed. They know that they have all the factor pairs because the same number is in the left-hand column and the right-hand column. Students are to hit the checkmark √, to indicate there are no more factor pairs. The game’s audio voice recording correction is, “There are no more factors of 36. Just hit the checkmark. Go again.”

### Prime numbers

Any of the numbers that students learn are prime numbers will begin with the first factor pair of 1 times the number itself. For example, in problem, O.2 students see “Factors of 37. 1 x 37.”  Students are to hit the checkmark to indicate that a number is a prime number.  The game’s audio voice correction is, “37 is a prime number because its only factors are 1 times itself. Just hit the checkmark. Go again.”  In this manner, students learn all the prime numbers from 2 to 40 in this Learning Track.

Students should learn their multiplication and division facts first before working on Factors and Primes. Once those are mastered in the Online Game, students who are already trying to find the greatest common denominators in working with fractions the Factors & Primes Learning Track will help them greatly.  They will exit knowing the factor pairs of these most common numbers and they will find this work much easier.

## Make finding factors easier (and more fun!) for your students with Rocket Math

With Rocket Math’s Factor Worksheet and the Online Game, your students can say goodbye to slow progress and hit-and-miss strategies. The Worksheet and Online Game can be used separately or in tandem for extra practice.

Try Learning Track #15 (Factors & Primes) of the Rocket Math Online Game for Free!

## The game is always right.  Just do the problem over again.

Teachers write saying their students complain that the Online Game said they were wrong, when they were right.  This is similar to a problem we found with students and their checkers in the Worksheet Program.

In the Worksheet Program students often complain to their teacher that their checker made them do the problem over, even though they weren’t wrong.  Trying to adjudicate such a dispute is nearly impossible, as veteran teachers have learned the hard way.  In workshops we always counseled teachers to respond to such complaints by constantly saying, “The checker is always right. Just do it over when the checker tells you to.”

The extra practice the checker (or the Online Game) makes a student do is never harmful.  The answer the checker reads off the answer sheet, (or the answer given by the game), is never wrong.  When you get complaints about the game telling them a right answer was wrong, just tell the student, “The game is always right. Just do the problem over again.

## The Online Game only says right answers, so it’s not wrong.

The correction procedure confirms the correct answer.  Students are not confused.  (That’s what I put!) They are just complaining that they were “unjustly” corrected.  An unjust correction is relatively unimportant compared to an actual error.
The program never says a student’s answer is “wrong.”  The game does a correction whenever it does not process the correct answer within the time limit.  The student may hit the correct answer just a fraction of a second too late to be processed by the game. Even though correct, the game will say “Time’s Up” and do a correction.
Sometimes a student misses the button they mean to hit, they make a “typo,” and the game buzzes and the screen shakes “no.”  However, the game can only say the correct problem and the correct answer as those are the only words that are recorded.  There are no recorded errors.  For example the game will say, “Six plus two equals eight. Go again.”  After that the game waits for the student to enter the correct answer AND waits for the student to hit the checkmark. No amount of arguing, “But that is what I put!” will change it.

## The extra practice caused by an “unjust correction” is not harmful.

Students should listen to Mission Control while it is displaying and saying the correct problem and the correct answer.  Then they will know what they should do. They should just enter the answer and hit the checkmark.  Students should just do the problem over again regardless of whether or not they think they entered the right answer.  The game never says anything incorrect and the extra practice won’t hurt them.
We have offered and continue to offer a \$50 gift certificate to the store of your choice if you can capture an error by the game on video, as we have never seen the game make an error and can’t replicate the problem.

## Competition may develop to unhealthy levels

When students begin to pass levels in Rocket Math, and color in the Rocket Chart in their folders, they naturally are proud of their accomplishments. Students want to tell me what level they are “on” when I visit classrooms.   Unhealthy competition may develop among students sometimes.  Some students begin to feel really bad about their slower progress, and students in the lead act arrogantly or disrespectfully.  The Rocket Math Wall Chart is designed to curb that competition.

## The Wall Chart puts all the students on the same team.

Over 700 star stickers come with the Wall Chart.  Each time a student passes a level the teacher awards them with a star sticker, which they take up to the Wall Chart and put into one of the squares in the chart.  Students fill the chart from the bottom up.  The teacher sets a goal in a few weeks, which date is marked on the goal arrow, and the goal arrow is placed a couple of rows up from where the students are now.  (You can just see that in the picture above.)

## Students develop pride in their whole class.

If the students fill in the squares up to the arrow–before the date specified on the arrow–they earn a group reward such as extra recess time, or music during math, or a congratulatory note home, or a popcorn party, etc.  In this way, each time a student passes a level they are putting up a score for the whole team.  It is good for everyone.  The teacher is able to praise the class for their hard work and accomplishments, and the whole class is able to feel good about their collective effort.

## The Wall Chart shows visitors (like principals) how well the class is doing.

Passers-by as well as interested administrators can praise the class as a whole for their successes with Rocket Math.  In many schools, classes post their completed Rocket Chart on their door with all 725 stickers in place!   The Rocket Math Wall Chart becomes a focus of pride and recognition for the whole class.  The price for the Rocket Math Wall Chart (#2005) of \$20 includes directions, plenty of star stickers, four goal arrows, and the chart itself.   They are cheaper by the dozen, \$155 for all twelve.

## Corrections in the Online Game: preventing struggling in the first place

Teachers often worry about what they need to do to find out what problems their struggling students will be struggling with in the Rocket Math Online Game. The answer is to see exactly how all the help that students need is built into the game. They have been taught and remediated BEFORE you can even know about it. View this 5-minute video to see exactly how the game corrections work.

## Part 1: First steps in making best use of the Online Game

Part 1 covers the first steps that a teacher needs to know how to do.

After students are set up in the Rocket Math Online Game these are things a teacher should know about how to do, in order to make the best use of the Online Game. This video explains several key features of the Online Game and how to manage those from the teacher dashboard. Includes information on how to:

• get HELP and FAQs,
• report glitches,
• print the Parent Letter,
• print the Color in Rocket Chart,
• change Learning Tracks, and
• change Teacher Mgrs.

## Part 2: Fluency data from the 1-minute tests races

Part 2 explains how to collect fluency data from the 1-minute tests races.

To make the best use of the Rocket Math Online Game the teacher should collect data from the scheduled 1-minute races (after Sets A, i, R, & Z), as students work through the A to Z curriculum. Collecting this data can prove that students are improving their fluency.  It can be used to document progress in IEPs or other learning plans.  Teachers should also assign 1-minute races to measure fluency progress on a regular basis.

## Part 3: Is the game speed too fast?

Part 3 examines whether the game speed is really too fast, and how to modify it.
Many students do not realize they can remember math facts instead of figuring them out over and over. The Rocket Math Online Game purposely goes too fast to figure out answers. Instead answers must be recalled, so they have to be memorized. Once students begin remembering the answers, they can go fast and they really enjoy math much more. The Online Game is designed to help make that happen. How to use the game’s “Difficulty Score” to tell which students really do need more than 3 seconds to answer.

## Part 4: Motivating your students to make best use of the Online Game

Part 4 Covers several ways of motivating students.

Teachers should support the work of learning math facts by recognizing students as they work through the A to Z levels of the Rocket Math Online Game. Providing students with the Color in Rocket Chart is the first step. Publicly awarding Learning Track Certificates when students finish is another. The Toughness Certificate is another form of recognition. Another way of motivating the practice necessary to learn this vital skill, is by keeping the length of time that students can play shorter than they want it to be. Ultimately the teacher’s attitude about how important this work is will make the difference in motivating students.

## Best Math Facts Apps Comparison: Rocket Math vs. XtraMath

There are plenty of math facts apps out there that let students practice math facts they have already learned.  Few apps actually teach math facts.  But apps from Rocket Math and XtraMath are exceptions.  While both apps teach students math facts, one is more effective and fun.

## The two best apps for actually teaching math facts

Math facts apps from Rocket Math and XtraMath effectively teach math facts because they have four essential characteristics:

1. Both math facts apps require students to demonstrate fluency with facts.  Fluency means a student can quickly answer math fact questions from recall.  This is the opposite of letting a student “figure it out” slowly.  Neither app considers a fact mastered until a student can answer a fact consistently within 3 seconds.
2. Both math facts apps zero in on teaching (and bringing to mastery) a small number of facts at a time.  This is the only way to teach math fact fluency. It’s impossible for students to learn and memorize a large number of facts all at once.
3. Both math facts apps are responsive.  Apps simply do not teach if they randomly present facts or do not respond differently when students take a long time to answer a fact.
4. Both math facts apps only allow students to work for a few minutes (15 minutes or less) before taking a break.  Teachers and parents may want to keep students busy practicing math facts for an hour, but students will come to hate the app if they have long sessions.  A few minutes of practice in each session is the best way to learn and to avoid student burnout.
5. Both math facts apps re-teach the fact if a student makes an error.  While both Rocket Math and XtraMath re-teach facts, they re-teach them differently.

While both apps contain these important features and teach math facts, there are a few vital elements that make an effective app like Rocket Math standout.

## An effective app gives a student a sense of accomplishment

The difficult thing about learning math facts is persevering.  There are so many to learn! It takes a while and students have to persevere through boring memorization tasks. The best way to help students learn their math facts is to give them a clear sense of accomplishment as they move through each task.

### How XtraMath monitors progress

To develop a sense of accomplishment among its app users, XtraMath displays math facts on a grid.  XtraMath tests the student and marks the ones that are answered quickly (within 3 seconds) with smiley faces.  It takes a couple of sessions to determine what has been mastered and what hasn’t, so there isn’t a sense of accomplishment at first.  This grid is displayed and explained, but it’s not easy to monitor progress.  Over time, there are fewer squares with facts to learn, but there isn’t clear feedback on what’s being accomplished as students work.

### How Rocket Math monitors progress

Conversely, Rocket Math begins recognizing student progress immediately and continues to celebrate progress at every step.  The Rocket Math app begins with Set A and progresses up to Set Z.  Each lettered set has three phases: Take-Off, Orbit, and the Universe.  That means there are 78 milestones celebrated in the process of moving from Set A to Set Z.

Take-Off phase has only 4 problems to learn.  They are repeated until the student gets 12 correct in a row.  When the student does that, the doors close (with appropriate sound effects) to show “Mission Accomplished.” They also are congratulated by one of a cast of voices.  Something along the lines of, “Mission Control here.  You did it!  Mission Accomplished! You took off with Set A!  Go for Orbit if you dare!”  With this type of consistent (and fun!) recognition, students clearly understand that they are progressing, and they get the chance to keep learning “if they dare!”

In addition to the three phases, students progress through the sets from A to Z.  Each time a student masters a set, by going through all three phases, the student gets congratulated and taken to their rocket picture, as shown above.  When a level is completed, the tile for that level explodes (with appropriate sound effects) and drops off the picture, gradually revealing more of the picture as tiles are demolished.

In the picture above, the tile for “N” has just exploded. After the explosion, a student is congratulated for passing Level N and encouraged to go for Level O if they dare.   When you talk to students about Rocket Math, they always tell you what level they have achieved.  “I’m on Level K!” a student will announce with pride.  That sense of accomplishment is important for them to keep chugging along. Rocket Math also has available Learning Track certificates from Dr. Don and the teacher for completing through Level Z.

## An effective math facts app correct errors—correctly

Neither of these math fact apps allow errors to go uncorrected.  Students will never learn math facts from an app that does not correct errors.  That puts these two apps head and shoulders above the competition.  However, these two apps correct errors very differently.

### How XtraMath corrects errors

On the left, you can see the XtraMath correction is visual.  If a student enters the wrong answer, the app crosses the incorrect answer out in red and displays the correct answer in gray.  A student then has to enter the correct answer that they see. This is a major mistake. In this case, students don’t have to remember the answer. They just have to enter the numbers in gray.

### How Rocket Math corrects errors

Rocket Math, however, requires the student to remember the answer.  When a student answers incorrectly, the screen turns orange and Mission Control displays and recites the correct problem and answer.  In the pictured situation, Mission Control says, “Seven times nine is sixty-three.  Go again.”  Then the answer clears and the game waits for the student to enter the correct answer.  Under these conditions, the student has to listen to the correction and remember the answer, so they can enter it correctly.

Once the student correctly answers that target problem, the app presents the problem again.  Then it presents it twice more interspersed with other problems.

If the student answers the previously missed problem correctly within the three seconds, the game notes the error, and the student continues through the phase.  If the student fails to answer the problem correctly again, the correction process repeats until the student answers correctly.  Having to listen to and remember the answer, rather than just copy the answer, helps students learn better.

## An effective math app gives meaningful feedback

Without feedback, students can’t learn efficiently and get frustrated. But the feedback cannot be generic. It has to dynamically respond to different student behavior.

### How XtraMath’s app gives feedback

XtraMath’s charming “Mr. C” narrates all of the transitions between parts of each day’s lesson.  He welcomes students, says he is happy to see them, and updates students on their progress.  He gives gentle, generic feedback about how you’re getting better and to remember to try to recall the facts instead of figuring them out.  However, his feedback remains the same no matter how you do.  In short, it is non-contingent feedback, which may not be very meaningful to students.

### How Rocket Math’s app gives feedback

Differing from XtraMath, Rocket Math offers students a lot of feedback that is contingent. Contingent feedback means that students will receive different types of feedback depending on their responses.

The Rocket Math app gives positive feedback for all the 78 accomplishments noted above.  It also doles out corrective feedback when the student isn’t doing well.

As noted above, students receive corrective feedback on all errors. They get feedback when they take longer than three seconds to answer too.  The “Time’s Up” screen on the right pops up and Mission Control says, “Ya’ gotta be faster!  Wait.  Listen for the answer.”  And then the problem and the correct answer are given.  Students get a chance to answer that fact again soon and redeem themselves–proving they can answer it in 3 seconds.

The app tracks errors and three errors means the student needs more practice on this part.  The doors close (with appropriate sound effects).   The student is given encouragement that they have defeated three hard problems, and a challenge to Start Over if they are tough enough.  At that point, the “go” screen appears and the student has to hit “go” to open the doors (with appropriate sound effects) and try it again.

When it comes to recognizing a student’s success, the Rocket Math app holds nothing back. After a student completes a phase, one of a cast of voices gives enthusiastic congratulations as noted above.

Typically, students don’t have to “start over” more than once or twice in a phase, but they still feel a real sense of accomplishment when they do complete the phase.  The feedback students get from Rocket Math matters because they have to work hard to earn it.

## How much does an effective math facts app cost?

It is hard to beat the price of XtraMath, which is free.  XtraMath is run by a non-profit based in Seattle.  They have a staff of six folks in Seattle, and they do accept donations.  Their product is great, and they are able to give it away.

Rocket Math is run by one person, Dr. Don.  He supports the app, its development and himself with the proceeds.  He answers his own phone and is happy to talk with teachers about math facts.  The Rocket Math Online Game is a good value at \$1.15 a year per seat (when ordering 100 or more seats).  Twenty to 50 seats are \$2.30 each. And fewer than 20 seats cost \$4 each per year.  As one principal-customer of Rocket Math said, “We used to have XtraMath.  We’d rather pay a little bit for Rocket Math because the kids like it better.”

## Document improved fluency by assigning a 1-minute RACE.

We have a feature that will allow you to assign a fluency test to all or some of your students. We call it a “1-minute RACE.”

### To Assign a Fluency Test 1-Minute RACE:

1) Select the students to whom you want to assign the test RACE, or Select All.

2) Click on the orange Bulk Action button.

3) Pull down to “Assign 1-min RACE on next login.”

After doing that, in your dashboard you will see that the 1-minute race has been assigned on the next login.
The next time those students login, they will be given the mission of doing a 1-minute race with ALL the facts in the Learning Track they are studying. They can skip facts they don’t know, by hitting the checkmark.

## A 1-minute test RACE is also automatically SCHEDULED after Sets A, i, R, and Z. See their latest results in Review Progress!

### Assign a 1-minute RACE individually also–at any time you wish.

You can assign a 1-minute RACE at any time for specific individuals as well, using the green Individual Action button at the end of their row.

• ## Export the test RACE results in spreadsheets.

• Separate exports for results from RACEs you Assign from the RACEs that are Scheduled after working through some levels in the Online Game (After sets A, i, R, and Z).

• ### See averages across your class or school.

• Each spreadsheet will show the average for your class as a teacher or for the school in the account of the Subscription Manager or owner.  There are separate averages for each Learning Track.
• ### See trends over time.

• You’ll see the improvement each student makes from the beginning after Set A to each of the subsequent tests RACES.

# Rocket Math Wins Editors Choice Award From All Digital School

Rocket Math is pleased to announce that we have won the editor’s choice award in math programs from All Digital School (ADS). With so many turning to online education, Rocket Math has been uniquely positioned to grow and adapt to these changing times. Our program has helped thousands of students across the country to learn math efficiently and enjoyably. We’re glad that this hard work has paid off and are thrilled to be recognized for our efforts.

All Digital School is a digital educational resource platform that compiles educational materials and tools that students everywhere can use online. ADS was founded to help educators, parents, and students to find the best materials, websites, and tools available during the pandemic. Their goal is to help everyone receive the best possible learning experience, no matter where they live. ADS is committed to providing an accessible online community for teachers and parents, creating a space where fellow educators can compare notes and review resources. This valuable online education provider now has over 4000 active resource listings for students of all ages.

You can see the Rocket Math program page at ADS here.

Editors at ADS regularly review their listings and choose resources that stand out in their respective fields. In the most recent review of mathematics programs, Rocket Math was selected as a standout favorite and recognized with an editor’s choice award. This distinctive honor pushes us to work even harder and demonstrates our unwavering commitment to provide every student with the opportunity to master math facts.

About Rocket Math:  For over a decade, Rocket Math has served as an educational resource that allows students to learn math quickly, thoroughly, and happily. Rocket Math stresses that all students can learn math and that students are motivated by seeing their own progress and success.

## Teach Multiplication Facts to Struggling Pre-Algebra Students

You want your middle-grade students to complete the pre-algebra math topics so they are ready to begin to study algebra in 8th or 9th grade. A disheartening number of middle-grade students have not memorized basic multiplication facts (times tables). Students must know multiplication facts to follow, absorb, and implement pre-algebra topics.  How to teach multiplication facts to struggling students? How can a teacher help their struggling students learn multiplication facts when a lot of their students do not need to do that work?

Rocket Math Online Game includes learning tracks for pre-algebra skills as well as basic multiplication and division facts. Within the Rocket Math Online Game, teachers assign students the learning tracks that they most need.

## Math Strategies for Struggling Students

Students who do not know their multiplication facts are constantly distracted from learning math strategies by having to stop and “figure out” basic facts. Every time they are asked to provide the answer to a multiplication fact, they have to turn their attention to working it out or looking it up. By the time they have gone through their process, they have lost the thread of the strategy they are supposed to be learning. The most important thing a math teacher can do for struggling math students is to help them bring math facts to automaticity. Then answering math fact questions no longer interferes with learning multi-step strategies for solving math problems.

## Why Multiplication facts are Important to Learn Before Middle School Math

Many pre-algebra math topics assume students have a ready knowledge of multiplication facts to even understand. When I was a middle-grade teacher, my remedial students were unable to follow or understand topics such as Finding factor pairs, reducing fractions, equivalent fractions, converting fractions, unlike fractions, and so on. I realized that it was because they did not know basic multiplication facts. When I reduced 8/24 to ⅓ it was like magic because they did not quickly recognize the multiplication facts involved. They didn’t understand the concepts we were trying to learn because they did not see the relationships they were supposed to know. When I asked them to think of the factor pairs of 36 they were unable to find them all, no matter how much time I gave them. While students can do multi-digit multiplication problems using a times table chart, it does them no good in pre-algebra topics because it takes too long, even if they know what to look up. Now let’s look at how to teach multiplication to struggling students using Rocket Math Worksheets or Rocket Math Online Game.

## How to Teach Multiplication to Struggling Students Using Rocket Math

Students who have not yet mastered multiplication facts are going to require a very effective teaching methodology to learn them. The haphazard, leave-it-up-to-the-student methods have already failed them. By now, these students lack confidence in their ability to learn the facts, so you need a sure-fire system.

Rocket Math is just such a system. Both the Worksheet Program and the Online Game systematically introduce students to the facts in a careful sequence that they can do. The Worksheet Program and Online Game ask students to memorize only two facts and their reverses at a time.

Students demonstrate mastery of those facts by answering them without hesitation. Then Rocket Math will add two more facts and their reverses. Small steps at a time, systematically the students can memorize the facts and answer them instantly from memory. If students practice every day, within a few weeks you’ll see a dramatic improvement in their recall of multiplication facts.

But what about the students who already know their multiplication facts? Rocket Math has something for them as well.

## Rocket Math Programs for Advanced Students

Teachers can assign Rocket Math as a 10-minute warm-up or cool down for all their students whether they are behind or advanced. Rocket Math has several pre-algebra topics for those students who already know their multiplication facts. Each of these topics will help them do pre-algebra processes more fluently and to quickly recognize relationships that they have memorized.

### Learning Track 13: Identifying Fractions

When students initially learn about fractions they are often only shown proper fractions. As a result, they have a limited understanding of fractions and can be confused by improper fractions or mixed numbers. The Rocket Math programs (both Worksheet and Online) prevent this problem.  From the start, we teach students using examples of both proper and improper fractions as well as whole numbers and mixed numbers. Students learn to identify over 90 different fractions quickly and easily by getting lots of practice. Their understanding of fractions will deepen and become more flexible as they learn to recognize many examples of fractions.

### Learning Track 14: Equivalent Fractions

Students will memorize the most common equivalent fractions with this Rocket Math Learning Track. They will also learn to identify a number of fractions, such as 2/9,  that do not “reduce” or for which there are no equivalent fractions in lower terms. Students also learn to recognize a fraction equal to 1 whole in its various forms. When students don’t instantly know the answer they are told the equivalent fraction and given practice on it. The computer gives help in the Online Game.  Their partner gives that help in the Worksheet Program. By the end of the program, students will learn over 90 equivalent fractions. This gives students an excellent start on being able to manipulate fractions quickly and easily.

### Learning Track 15: Factors & Primes

Students are required to “find the factors” when dealing with unlike fractions and reducing fractions. Rocket Math Worksheet and Online Game teach students how to find factor pairs. Students learn how to find all the factor pairs and what they all are for many common numbers. They also learn to identify prime numbers and their characteristic of having only one and themselves as factors. Students learn the factor pairs in order and know the “last” factor pair when they see it. When the game asks “What’s next?” students can provide the next pair of factors or click the checkmark to indicate there are no more factors. When students go through this Learning Track they will no longer hesitate when asked for the factors of common numbers.

### Learning Track 16: Fraction & Decimal Equivalents

Common fraction and decimal equivalents should not require a laborious process to “figure out.” Students should just know these, so this Learning Track in the Online Game allows them to memorize a bunch of common decimal and fraction equivalents. Having a facility with a lot of fraction and decimal equivalents means faster computation as well as a way to check their process when manipulating fractions and decimals. Students also learn another essential pre-algebra skill that often confuses them.  They learn to correctly and fluently translate a fraction into a division problem and vice-versa.

“Test Drive” any of the 16 Learning Tracks in our Online Game demo accounts.

## Learning Math by Fact Family vs One Operation at a Time

A Fact Family is an innovative way to group the learning of math facts. Some people are die-hard advocates of this way to learn facts. Yet students successfully learned math facts for decades without ever considering them as being composed of families. This blog discusses the pros and cons of learning with fact families.

## What is a Fact Family

A fact family is a set of four math facts made with the same three numbers. The numbers 2, 3, and 5 can make a family of four facts: 2+3=5, 3+2=5, 5−3=2, 5−2=3. The numbers 2, 3, and 6 can make a different fact family: 2×3=6, 3×2=6, 6÷2=3, 6÷3=2.

## Why are Fact Families Important?

Fact families help children see that adding and subtracting are the opposite of each other. Multiplication and Division fact families do the same. Learning fact families may help students develop more flexibility in their number sense.

## Which Way is Better?

Only if students thoroughly master Addition facts, can they quickly recognize the reciprocal nature of Subtraction. Students find it easier when memorizing facts, to stick with Addition, rather than switching back and forth between adding and subtracting as is required by learning in fact families. They tend to memorize faster in single operations than they do in fact families.  However, if students memorize in fact families, they will learn the reciprocal nature of the fact families right from the beginning. They may learn it more thoroughly. That may help them develop more flexibility in their number sense. So that’s not a bad thing.

## How to Learn Math with Fact Families and Single Operations

Rocket Math offers separate Addition and Subtraction sequences, as well as fact family sequences. Both the Online Game and Worksheet Program provides these. If teachers (or their regular math curriculum) are wedded to fact families, they are available to use. Usually, the first fact families learned are Addition and Subtraction Fact Families through 10, then Fact Families from 11.

I would recommend beginning with learning the operations separately: learning Addition facts (1s to 9s) first, followed by Subtraction facts (1s to 9s). For some students, this may be all they have time to learn.  If students have time, use Fact Families as a review. If the student has time, it would be beneficial and relatively easy for them to do Fact Families (+,-) to 10 and then Fact Families (+,-) from 11 afterward. Students will learn the facts more thoroughly, and the reciprocal nature of Addition and Subtraction will be deeply ingrained. This is quite simple in the Online Game, as it only involves switching the student to another Learning Track, and doesn’t require a new filing crate, as in the Worksheet Program.

## Using Rocket Math to Teach Single Operations & Fact Families

Rocket Math offers separate Addition and Subtraction sequences, as well as fact family sequences through the Online Game and the Worksheet Program. For teachers looking to teach Addition and Subtraction math fact families, Rocket Math offers two sequences of Fact Families; the first, Fact Families to10 and the second, Fact Families from 11. For teachers looking to teach in separate operations, Rocket Math offers separate sequences for learning Addition facts (1s to 9s) first, followed by Subtraction facts (1s to 9s). If the operations are learned separately, fact families can be used as a review.