Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Math Facts Essay -- Education, The Arithmetic Gap

â€Å"Memorizing math facts is the most important step to understanding math. Math facts are the building blocks to all other math concepts and memorizing makes them readily available† (EHow Contributor, 2011). To clarify, a math fact is basic base-10 calculation of single digit numbers. Examples of basic math facts include addition and multiplication problems such as 1 + 1, 4 + 5, 3 x 5 and their opposites, 2 – 1, 9 – 4, 15/5(Marques, 2010 and Yermish, 2011). Typically, these facts are memorized at grade levels deemed appropriate to a student’s readiness – usually second or third grade for addition and subtraction and fourth grade for multiplication and division. If a child can say the answer to a math fact problem within a couple of seconds, this is considered mastery of the fact (Marques, 2010). Automaticity – the point at which something is automatic- is the goal when referring to math facts. Students are expected to be able to recall facts without spending time thinking about them, counting on their fingers, using manipulatives, etc (Yermish, 2011). . In order to become a fluent reader, a person must memorize the sounds that letters make and the sounds that those letters make when combined with other letters. Knowing math facts, combinations of numbers, is just as critical to becoming fluent in math. Numbers facts are to math as the alphabet is to reading, without them a person cannot fully succeed. (Yermish, 2011 and Marquez, 2010). A â€Å"known† fact is one that is â€Å"answered automatically and correctly without counting† (Greenwald, 2011). In order for a child to achieve academically, the child must master basic facts. A child's progress with problem-solving, algebra and higher-order math concepts is negatively impacted by a lack... ...wer but offer no assistance with learning a concept (Mahoney and Knowles, 2010). Automaticity of math facts is beneficial to all mathematics learning. Fortunately, there are ways to help students learn basic facts without skill and drill. Explicit strategy instruction is more effective than encouraging strict rote memorization (Woodward, 2006). Yet, many educators are unsure of how to help students master facts. Too many educators still have misconceptions of how students learn facts and how they commit them to long-term memory (Baroody, 1985). Some people argue that students no longer need to learn how to compute now that calculators are widely available. â€Å"While facility at one-digit computation is far from the primary aim of elementary school mathematics, it is an important skill that provides the foundation for many other topics†(Burton and Knifong, 1982).

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