Understanding the concept behind addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division is essential to learning math as a whole, but memorization is the next step. Yes, we live in a world overflowing with calculators, but knowing the basic facts is crucial to later success in math.
For example, if I asked you to make a fraction equivalent to 5/6, the simplest way to do so would be to choose a small whole number, like 2, and multiply the numerator (top) and the denominator (bottom) by it, getting 10/12.
If you have to spend over a minute multiplying both numbers, fractions will seem really difficult. It will only get worse when you have to make a common denominator between two fractions, and by the time you have to divide the fractions the whole process will be so frustrating, you’ll want to give up on math all together. By the time you reach solving linear equations, you’ll want to burn your math book and all your assignments. But it doesn’t have to be this way!
Make sure you, or your child, are fluent in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division tables from 0-12. It will prevent a lot of pain in the future.
Here’s some frequent Q and A’s I get on this topic:
- Which fact should be memorized? The times tables?
Multiplication tends to be the center of attention, but it is equally important to build fluency with addition . Once addition and multiplication (1-12) facts are burned into the brain, their partner’s, subtraction and division, are easily learned.
- Are you sure I have to memorize addition?
Yes, you do not want to be applying to graduate schools one day, while still computing 5+3 on your fingers.
- What do you mean by “fluency”?
Two seconds or less for each problem. Hopefully less.
- Is it humanly possible to retain all of this data? How?
Yes. Not only do flashcards exist, but we live in the beautiful age of the app. There are countless free apps aimed at math fact memorization. There are also websites riddled with games. I’ll talk about some of my favorite math apps and websites in a future post.
I’ll leave you with this thought:
It’s as easy as 1,2,3,4, 12= 3 X 4!