Looking for free math worksheets?

Do you want your students to learn OR are you just keeping them busy?

It’s OK if you need busywork.  

It’s critical to keep some of your students occupied in order for you to have the peace and quiet you need to teach other students.  Those free math worksheets of random facts are fine for busywork, provided students already know the facts.

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BUT

(and this is a big but) if you want students to actually learn facts, you need math worksheets that are more systematic than the usual fact practice worksheets.  A random mix of problems (on those free math worksheets) is fine for practicing what you already know, but it is USELESS for learning new facts.

Students who don’t know their facts are left painfully counting on their fingers to do their “work.” This just wastes their time and makes them come to HATE math.

I know, because I made my students do it for years. 🙁

 I discovered that with systematic practice students can actually learn math facts!

In order to learn new facts students must concentrate on a few they don’t know and practice those particular facts until they know them “by memory” without having to figure them out.  After students have learned those they can then tackle a few more.  That’s the only way to learn a bunch of facts.  That’s what Rocket Math does. Watch this video to see it in action.

 Rocket Math worksheets are not free, but they will actually teach. rocket math worksheets

Each sheet (A-Z) adds two new facts and their reverses, making the process of learning them painless.  By the time students have worked their way through the A-Z worksheets of an operation they know the facts “by heart” or as the Common Core calls it “by memory.”

If LEARNING is your goal, you’ll need something more effective than the free math worksheets.

 

 

 

Rocket Math has a MONEY-BACK guarantee.

If you spend the $13 to get a trial subscription and you decide Rocket Math doesn’t work or you don’t want to use the program, we’ll gladly refund your money.

 

 

Plus

Students have more fun and learn better when they are practicing orally, with a partner so they can get corrections and extra teaching on any facts they don’t know well.  That is part of how Rocket Math works.  So it won’t just be busywork.  Your students will actually learn the facts and be proud of it.

 

Do too many of your students hate math?

We want your students to have fun during math.

At Rocket Math we believe that students should enjoy math.  And we know that what students enjoy is going fast!  They enjoy being able to slam through a page of math facts or even a page of computation quickly and easily.  We know that students are motivated by a sense of accomplishment and a sense of competence.  They love getting “good” at math.

Practicing math facts until they are fully memorized is NOT a quick fix.  It takes time and dedication on the part of the teacher and the student.  But done right, within a matter of weeks both parties begin to see a difference.  Students say things like, “I can do this!”  or “I’m good at math!” when they see themselves succeeding and working through the multi-month process of learning all the facts in an operation.

As one of our teacher friends said, “I always start my math class with facts practice now, because it gives my students a sense of accomplishment, of success right off the bat.”  Let’s face it, practicing math facts, even with a partner, is not intrinsically interesting. It is true, that if it is not done right, students will not make progress.  But if it is done the right way, students learn, get good, pass small milestones and can begin to see progress.  Seeing progress gives students a sense of accomplishment and they love it.

Too many educators suggest that the way to get students to enjoy math is to avoid dull topics like math facts or computation.  Instead they want to immediately dive into complex, real-world, authentic, head-scratching-type problems that take even a committee hours to figure out. For most students that is not enjoyable.  It is painful.  And those students tend to avoid math or say they aren’t any good at it.

Done the right way, students can learn and become proficient with math facts and computation.   I know it seems counter-intuitive that developing skill and fluency with basic math facts and computation would help students come to enjoy math more.  But maybe you ought to consider it, because for decades we’ve been doing the opposite.  The results show that very few American-educated students major in math in college.  Maybe if we helped them feel like they were “good” at the beginning levels of math they might stick with it.  Just sayin’

Developing test-taking strategies into habits.

Three important test-taking strategies that Rocket Math will turn into habits.

(1) Perseverance Pays Off

Students really need perseverance to get through today’s tests.  You want your students to really work hard and do their best! To have that kind of perseverance students need to KNOW that it pays off.  Sticking with learning and testing over and over until they win is a central lesson of Rocket Math’s daily practice and tests.  Most days, most students do NOT pass the One-Minute Daily Test.  They have to practice some more and try again the next day.  If they try hard and do their best on each day’s test, eventually they do pass.  This teaches perseverance like nothing else in the curriculum!

 

 

(2) When taking a test, work as fast as you can.  

Students doing Rocket Math learn that to be successful you have to work as fast as you can.  Their individualized goals require that they write answers as fast as they can write.  Students who pause to look at the clock or look around the room during the one-minute test simply do not pass.  This may be the only time of the day that students experience the need to work quickly and they get immediate feedback based on whether or not they do work quickly–and it is something they care about!  So they are motivated to work quickly.  It is important for students to have that kind of experience if they are to learn the general rule that you are supposed to work as fast as you can when taking a test.  

 

(3) Skip what you don’t know  

Have you ever watched a student waste valuable time working on a test item you knew the student wouldn’t be able to answer?  Nothing more painful.  Students need to learn to skip the items to which they don’t know the answer readily.  How are they going to learn that without practice?  Rocket Math has a progress-monitoring component–a weekly 2-minute timing you can see to the right. These weekly tests sample all the facts in the operation, including ones they haven’t memorized yet.  Therefore the strategy they should use is to skip the ones they don’t know yet, so as to answer quickly all the ones they do know.  If you explain this to the students, and they can develop this strategy while taking these weekly tests.   

If you aren’t sure that your implementation is developing these habits please feel free to download the  Teacher Directions.   If you have a school wide implementation of Rocket Math be sure you have the Administrator and Coach Handbook.

Facts practice: does it belong in middle school math?

It sure does, if you’re seeing this happen in your class!

Most middle school math teachers confide to me that their classrooms are negatively impacted by the number of students who stop to count out facts on their fingers.  Their issue was always what to do during facts practice with the other students who do know their facts.  It has taken a couple of years but I have put together a package of pre-algebra skills that are worth middle school students’ time practicing which are available in the Universal Subscription. Because the routine of Rocket Math is the same whether the students are practicing basic multiplication facts or learning equivalent fractions you’ll be able to manage all these different levels during the same ten-minute session.

Teachers know it is imperative that finger-counting middle schoolers get practice learning their facts.  Rocket Math is an excellent way to do that.  They will develop fluency and automaticity with the basic facts in an operation in a semester and from then on your lessons will be much easier.  Not only that, but a much higher proportion of the students will be finishing assignments.  There is a “Placement Probe” that can identify students who know their facts in about one minute. The students who know the basic facts of multiplication and division can be placed into the pre-algebra practice programs.

Factors Answers AFACTORS. Students probably ought to begin with the Factors program. What are the factors of 24? Answer: 1 and 24, 2 and 12, 3 and 8, 4 and 6. This is what students learn by memory from doing this program. Students practice with a partner, take a daily one minute timing, fill in a Rocket Chart, just like regular Rocket Math. Students learn all the factors for these numbers in this sequence: 12, 36, 24, 48, 18, 32, 16, 64, 10, 40, 20, 72, 8, 25, 50, 6, 21, 30, 60, 15, 45, and 100.

 

 

Fraction Number Line GEQUIVALENT FRACTIONS.  Students need to know that six-eighths is equivalent to three-fourths and that four-twelfths is equivalent to one-third.  While they can calculate these, it is very helpful to know the most common equivalent fractions by memory.  One of the most common problems students have in fractions is not “reducing their answers to simplest form.”  Equivalent fractions will help students commit 100 common equivalent fractions to memory.  Each set (A through Z) has four fractions which are displayed on a fraction number line.  Students frequently learn fractions equivalent to one,such as ten-tenths, as well as fractions that can’t be reduced, for example three-fourths is equivalent to three-fourths.  Using the fraction number line will help with student understanding of why those fractions are equivalent.

Integers ArrowsINTEGERS (Adding and subtracting positive and negative numbers).  Integers displays problems on a vertical number line and then teaches students two rules about how to solve problems that add or subtract positive and negative numbers.

Rule 1: Go up when you add a positive number OR subtract a negative number.
Rule 2: Go down when you subtract a positive number OR add a negative number.

Students gradually learn several variations of all four types of problems.  They practice with the number line on each page and then have a chance to build fluency on the top half of the page as they work with their partner.  You will probably not be surprised that there is a one-minute test on each set.  The goals are slightly different than before.  Students are to be 100% accurate and to complete at least 80% of their rate at answering simple addition and subtraction problems.

10s, 11s, 12s Multiplication and 10s, 11s, 12s Division facts are also available in the Universal Subscription.  If you have students who think they know the basic facts, but need review, putting them into either of these programs will review the 1s through 9s facts, teach them new ones and allow them to save face.

Among these five programs there are good things for ALL middle school math students to learn, even the more advanced students.  This will enable a math teacher to devote ten minutes a day to fact practice without holding anyone back.  Everyone will have something meaningful to practice during that time.  I think this could be a huge step forward for a lot of middle school MATH classrooms.

 

Will finger counting ever go away?

Some “experts” in education think that teaching and practicing rote information, like math facts, is unnecessary.  Just let students do math or do games and they will learn facts well enough to get by.  That is true for a few students, but many students continue to count on their fingers up into junior high and high school if we don’t help them commit these facts to memory!  So the short answer to the question of whether finger counting will ever go away, is “No!” unless we do something.

One of the things that is unique about Rocket Math is that students begin to learn facts well enough so they have instant recall.  By practicing orally with a peer, they are saying the facts and the answers aloud, and from memory, over and over again.  By doing that, students come to the point that, when they say that problem to themselves, the answer pops into their heads without effort, like the words to an advertising jingle.  When the answer occurs to them instantly, they realize they know the answer before they can count on their fingers, and they stop.  This is how finger counting goes away.  Students recall the answer before they have to start counting fingers.  The end of finger counting comes with the kind of daily oral practice that the procedures of Rocket Math provide.

Why do multiplication facts have priority after 3rd grade?

Because older students CANNOT succeed in math without multiplication facts.

Am I sure? Yes, I’m sure. “But,” you say, “my students are still counting addition and subtraction on their fingers.”

I know. And I am still sure—fourth grade and up—multiplication. Why? Once children are in fourth grade it is critical that teachers make sure they memorize multiplication facts—primarily because you can’t be sure of how much help they will get later to learn the math facts. Sadly, your students may only learn one operation to fluency. If so, multiplication facts have priority over addition and subtraction. Besides complex multiplication and division, the multiplication facts are needed for success in fractions and ratios. Students have to immediately see the relationships between numbers in order to understand topics like equivalent fractions, reducing fractions, combining unlike fractions, as well as ratios. Let’s be honest here…those are the things that state tests LOVE to ask about. Not to mention, these are the pre-algebra skills students need to be successful in algebra and the rest of math.

If you have the students for long enough (at least one year) you may find that they finish and have mastered both multiplication and division facts. Then you can go back and have them learn addition and subtraction facts as well.

Don’t get me wrong — I know that addition and subtraction facts are VERY IMPORTANT — it’s just that multiplication is MORE IMPORTANT.

Challenge your students with the Race for the Stars Game Center!

race-for-the-stars-product-imagery-subtraction
How can you entice your students to play the Race for the Stars game in a center?

By letting them post their record/best time for completing the game boards. Race for the Stars is a great game for students to practice their math facts. The game provides 24 problems tiles students can race to put down next to the answers in the game board as fast as they can. There is now a Game Center Kit that give you everything you need to set up a center in your room that students will want to visit. The key is the poster with room for student labels with their names. Then next to their name is a place for them to write their best time at filling the game board. Well, actually their partner with the stop watch should probably write down their time. All the students in the class can rotate through the Game Center to record how fast they can fill either or both of the two game boards. One, for levels A-K are the first facts to be learned in Rocket Math. The second game board, L-Z are the facts learned in the last half of the Rocket Math levels.

But how can you motivate your students to play the game again and again to get the practice they need?

Here is the coolest part of the Race for the Stars Game Center. Students can go back and get someone to time them filling the Race for the Stars gameboard again. If the timer with the stopwatch sees that the student beat their previous best, they get to record the new record time, AND cover the old time up with a star sticker. Getting to put up a star sticker next to your name proves you were able to beat your own previous best–that is impressive! In fact, the savvy teacher will make a daily stop to see who in the class has been able to add a star sticker to the poster next to their name, showing that they beat their previous best time.

And that is how you motivate students to use the Race for the Stars Game Center (item #2112) to practice their math facts in their spare time!

Can we use Rocket Math worksheets at home?

A parent asks:

I am a parent of a second grader who struggles mightily with her math facts. Her school does not do Rocket Math, although other buildings in our district use your program. I would like to know if your math facts program is appropriate for me to buy to use at home with my daughter. Also, does the Rocket Math basic subscription contain the complete program that a classroom would get?

Dr. Don answers:

Yes, the Rocket Math worksheet program is appropriate to buy to use at home with your child. The basic subscription has everything a parent or classroom teacher needs to run the program. But…

That being said, a parent at home may want to consider using Rocket Math flashcards instead of the worksheets in the original Rocket Math program. Flashcards are designed for one-on-one where the worksheets are designed to run an entire class at the same time. You can download the Flashcard Directions for free–and I highly recommend you doing that, so you know exactly how to work with your child effectively to learn math facts from flashcards. I really like the watch-your-favorite-TV-show-together-and-do-flashcards-during-all-the-commercials plan.

If you are teaching your child math facts at home, you definitely wouldn’t want to work on more than one operation at a time; addition in first grade, subtraction next in second grade, multiplication in third, and division in fourth grade.

The practice procedures are very similar between the flashcards and the original worksheet program. In both cases the student is to read aloud the problems and say the answers from memory without hesitation. The person listening (tutoring) provides the same correction procedure–saying the correct fact and answer, having the student repeat the fact and the answer three times, then doing two more problems before revisiting the target fact (the one on which there was an error or hesitation). The difference is that in the worksheet program students are reading facts from the worksheet, while in the flashcard program the student is reading the facts off the flashcards.

With the worksheet program you will have to print out the worksheets, the writing speed test, the goal sheet and the rocket chart. Each time you give the student the one minute test (to see if they are ready to move on to the next sheet) you’ll use up that sheet and have to print a new one. When your student passes the set of facts on that sheet, you’ll need to print the worksheet for the next set. With the flashcards, no additional printing is required. That alone is reason to use flashcards in my mind.

There is one very special circumstance in which it might be important to use the original Rocket Math worksheets at home. If your child is using Rocket Math in school, AND if the program is not being run correctly, AND if your child is being frustrated–then you might want to get a subscription. Watch our YouTube video on how to tutor Rocket Math.

If you read the Rocket Math Directions FAQs, you will be able to discover what is wrong at school. It may be that not enough time is spent practicing, or practicing the right way. It may be that your child’s handwriting speed was not taken into account when setting their goals. It may be that your child’s student partner in school is not correcting errors or hesitations in the right way. In any case it would be very important to show your child that he or she CAN in fact learn math facts successfully (all children can) and to overcome the frustration that improper use of the program is causing.

So you can buy and use the original Rocket Math worksheet program at home, but think about whether flashcards would be easier than the worksheet program. Teachers can’t effectively use flashcards in their classrooms because they can’t monitor the learning of that many students at once without the testing procedure. But you can when you are home alone with one child at a time–so flashcards can work for you.

Why should it take months to learn addition facts?

Because you need to remember these facts your whole life!

Learning all the addition facts well should take a while. What’s more, it is important to spread this learning task out over weeks and months. Why? Because the longer you spend learning something the better you learn it and the longer you remember it. Conversely, when you cram learning into a short period of time you will likely forget it soon. Remember, cramming for exams in high school or college? Remember, what you learned? Probably not.

Rocket Math is designed to motivate students to work through a long task of learning nearly 100 facts in addition. It is broken down in bite-sized pieces for a couple of reasons. One, so each piece is not too much to memorize (nobody can memorize ten similar things at once). Two, so students can experience success along the way. Little successes keep them motivated for the long haul, which is a key point.

Rocket Math is purposely demanding. We want student to learn the facts to the point of instant recall, without any hesitation. So we expect them to be able to write the answers to the facts as fast as their little fingers can carry them–without any having to stop and think about on the way. That is called the level of automaticity. One way to do this would be to simply require all students to practice for a week on each set. That wouldn’t be terrible, but it wouldn’t be motivating and it wouldn’t take into account learning differences–it wouldn’t differentiate properly. Some students can learn facts to that level in 3 or 4 practice sessions while others may take 10 or more practice sessions to get to the level of automaticity.

Practice must be focused on learning. It is very important that practice has to be focused on learning, rather than just “going through the motions.” It is critical that students realize they can move on as soon as they learn these facts, and not until then. If everyone moved on every week regardless of learning differences, it would be too soon (moving on too fast) for some students and too slow for others.

Students need to meet the rigorous tests of Rocket Math and it is optimal that they spend several days on each set. With 26 sets to master and 90 days in a semester, we should not expect students to master an operation in less than a semester. It is also acceptable for a student to take up to a school year to learn all the addition facts. If schools routinely taught addition in first grade, subtraction in second, multiplication in third and division in fourth grade, their students would find math computation a breeze. Even better, they would remember those facts, that took them a school year to learn, for life. Isn’t that really the point?

Filling testing-created gaps in your schedule.

Many schools are starting spring testing soon, and it wreaks havoc with the daily schedule. People outside education don’t really understand how much school schedules are disrupted by attempting to test everyone in the school on the available computers. Not to mention catching all the students who are absent during their assigned time. Disrupted schedules create small gaps in the schedule, which are hard to fill, even more so when not every student is present. Let me present an option to fill those small gaps–do Rocket Math! Here’s five reasons why you should.

1) By this time of the year, students know the Rocket Math routine, so it should not take more than ten to fifteen minutes to run, start to finish. So Rocket Math can fill small gaps.

2) Even if Rocket Math has been done once during the day, a second or even third session during the day will NOT harm students, it will actually help them progress faster. (As long as you have at least a half hour between sessions).

3) It is beneficial for the students in the room even when some students are out doing make-up testing. It won’t require you to re-teach a lesson.

4) In contrast to free reading or make work activities, which only fill time, students doing Rocket Math will be learning critical skills that are necessary for future success.

5) In contrast to the stress of the accountability tests, Rocket Math is something students know well and have success at. They know what they are doing and they see their growth. They know they are learning. This is a powerful antidote to the not-so-straightforward tasks, questions and expectations of the accountability tests.

I highly recommend keeping Rocket Math folders handy for filling those small gaps in the daily schedule caused by testing.