At first, it may seem like the way Rocket Math presents the same simple facts over and over, is so easy, it must be a waste of time.
But like anything you learn, you have to start where it seems easy and then build up to where it is hard. Rocket Math has been effective helping students learn their math facts for over 20 years. It is designed according to scientifically designed learning principles, which is why it works, if students will work it. Rocket Math carefully and slowly introduces facts to learn in such a way that students can achieve fluency with each set of facts as they progress through the alphabet A through Z. Let me explain.
Set A begins with two facts and their reverses, e.g., 2+1, 1+2, 3+1 and 1+3. Dead simple, huh? But in answering those the student learns what it is like to instantly “know” an answer rather than having to figure it out. The student says to himself or herself, “Well, I know that one.” The student learns he or she can answer a fact instantly with no hesitation every time based on recall and not figuring it out. The game requires the student to answer the problems at a fast rate, proving that he or she knows those facts. Once that level is passed the game adds two more facts and their reverses,. The same process of answering them (and still remembering Set A) instantly with no hesitation every time. When that is achieved, the game moves the student on to Set C, two more facts and their reverses. Eventually, every student gets to a fact on which they hesitate (maybe one they have to count on their fingers), meaning they can’t answer within the 3 seconds allowed. Mission Control then says the problem and the correct answer, has the student answer that problem, then gives two different facts to answer and goes back to check on the fact the student hesitated on again. If the student answers within 3 seconds then the game moves on.
In the Take-Off phase the student is introduced to the two new facts and their reverses. That’s all the student has to answer. But the student has to answer each one instantly. If the student is hesitant on any of those facts (or makes an error) then they have to Start Over and do the Take-Off phase over again. They have to do 12 in a row without an error or a hesitation. Once the Take-Off phase is passed the student goes into the Orbit phase, where there is a mix of recently introduced facts along with the new facts. The student has to answer up to 30 facts, and is allowed only two errors or hesitations. After the third error or hesitation the student has to Start Over on the Orbit Phase. Once the Orbit phase is passed, the student goes on to the Universe phase, which mixes up all the facts learned so far and presents them randomly. Again the student has to do up to 30 problems and can only hesitate on 2 or them or he or she has to start over. But once the student proves that all of those facts can be answered without hesitation, the game moves on to the next level, introducing two more facts and their reverses.
In the Worksheet Program, students practice with a partner. In the Online Game the student practices with the computer. In both versions of Rocket Math the students follow the same careful sequence and slowly, but successfully, build mastery of all of the facts in an operation. It’s hard work and takes a while, but we try to make it fun along the way. It will work for everybody, but not everybody is willing to do the work. At least, now you understand how Rocket Math is designed so it can teach mastery of math facts.