You probably remember using math flashcards growing up. Maybe your teachers or parents quizzed you to help you memorize your math facts. This practice is a great way to memorize these facts, which will make things easier as your child progresses in math. However, using math flashcards isn’t always effective. To ensure that it is, here are six tips to try with your student.
Focus on Mastery
You can sift through a large stack of cards every day, but it’s going to end up being a waste of time. Rather than spending time going over facts your student already knows, focus on ones that your student hasn’t already mastered.
One way to do this would be by creating two containers—one for the facts your child has mastered, and the other for ones that he or she is still working on. As your child masters each math fact, move it to the mastery box. Then, your child can observe his or her progress while focusing on the facts that need to be mastered.
Motivate Your Student
Adding to the mastery box may be encouraging, but students tend to lose motivation as the math facts get harder and they know fewer facts. As this happens, you can find ways to motivate your child to continue working hard.
For example, create a bingo card with answers. Then, hold up the math fact. Have your child state the answer before finding the corresponding number on the card. Of course, providing a prize or treat when your child gets a bingo could be a fun motivation, too!
Have Your Child Create Math Flashcards
When you’re running short on time, there are great apps to use for math flashcards. Or, you could purchase pre-made ones at the store or online. However, children can get a lot out of creating their own flashcards. For one thing, it helps them create neural pathways, making it easier to retrieve the information later when they’re running through the flashcards with you.
State Answers Out Loud
Maybe your child likes to run through the flashcards on their own. Maybe your child is shy or timid. However, speaking out loud can help your child memorize the math facts. This way your child is seeing the fact, saying the fact, and hearing it. Together, this will help your child make connections to remember these facts each time.
Think Outside the Math Flashcards
If flashcards aren’t working or your child needs a break, there are other ways to practice math facts. Try these ideas:
- Use a permanent marker to write math questions on a beach ball. As you throw it back and forth, look at the math fact under your right thumb and state the answer.
- Split a deck of playing cards between you and your child. At the same time, each of you should put down a playing card face up. Try to be the first person to add, subtract, multiply, or divide the numbers. Whoever was quickest wins those cards for that round.
- Roll two dice. Add, subtract, multiply, or divide the two numbers. You could race or take turns stating the answers.
Pair with Other Review Methods
Remember that flashcards are just one of the ways to review. It may not work for every student, so try using other methods, too. Maybe your child will excel with worksheets or practice quizzes instead. Find out what works with your child to help them memorize the math facts quickly.
Math can be fun! As you use math flashcards with your student, make the process fun, and your child will learn and memorize the math facts in the process. Tell us about your experience and what worked for you in the comments below!