Friday, February 5, 2016

Fact Families Confusions + A Fact Family Freebie

Hi, Teaching Friends!

"Fact Families: Friend or Enemy?"

That could have been the title of this post. Fact families are a great tool to help students see the relationships between numbers. Using hands on materials (like separating groups of manipulatives) and bridging to drawings, and then numerical representations, fact families are a great way to help students see the connection between addition and subtraction, and can also be a super tool to promote meaningful memorization.

But in the wrong hands, related fact families can be an enemy that's tricky to get rid of. Please tell me that I'm not the only one who's had some students just plug in the numbers, producing number models like 5+3=2 or 2-4=6. Yikes!

You've probably used some of these methods to teach and practice fact families
   * Number Bonds

   * Fact Family Houses

   * Part/Part/Whole diagrams

   * Fact Triangles

   * Dominoes

How do you help those students who've decided that it's easier to plug the numbers in than to think? 

Here's the little game I've used!

Teach students the 3 Finger Test. Hold up three fingers and for each number model you make, ask these questions:

1. Is it true?
2. Does it use all of the numbers in the family?
3. Does it use any numbers that are not in the family? (Sometimes, very dramatically, for extra fun, we  say, "No strangers in this family!")

As each question is answered, they push one of the fingers down. When all three are down, it's a fistpump in the air for a successful fact family!

What are some tricks of the trade that you've found to be successful with teaching fact families?

Here's a fun {and free!} way to add some fact family practice to your math center! This set of 18 clip cards for +1 and +2 facts also includes a demonstration page for use with your doc camera. Print the cards on light or bright cardstock as shown above, or print on white and have your students color them lightly with colored pencils before laminating.

Click to download your copy!

Happy Teaching!

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