“Foamies and rulers. They are great! They keep kids engaged and are great for visual learners.” – Ms. Sykes, Pre-School Teacher at San Leon Elementary School, Dickinson, Texas

A Fresh Approach to “Math Facts”

Number combinations are commonly called math equations or “math facts”. As students, parents, and teachers we’ve devoted many hours of our lives to doing worksheets full of equations, practicing flash cards, and cramming multiplication tables. Today elementary school students still learn their “math facts” in these ways, but the foundation for these talents start much earlier than grade school though. As educators we can help kids prepare for these more challenging math equations by helping them build a strong foundation of number sense.

A key component of number sense is the ability to compose and decompose numbers – that is – make number combinations. Practicing number combinations helps kids train their brains to quickly identify sets of numbers, know how numbers relate to each other and solve traditional mathematical equations. Mastery of these skills frees children from relying on finger counting which often leads to mistakes and slows students down as they progress to more challenging math work.

Dr. Ken Newbury demonstrates how to practice number combinations with the KENS Math foamies in this video:

The KENS Math curriculum is unique in that rather than relying only on verbal memory to recall math facts, the program methodology engages the brain through “Go, Show & Tell” exercises that build number sense in a fun, interactive way.

Go – Students use visual memory to teach the brain to subitize or quickly identify number sets, a skill that has a direct correlation to later math success.

Show – Students engage in hands-on activities that teach an understanding of number combinations and number magnitude.

Tell – Students leverage their “go” and “show” learning and verbal memory to master traditional math equations.

How to Use Subitizing & Number Combination Flash Cards

Begin by evaluating each student with the KENS Math Assessment tests. This will help you determine which set of leveled flash cards to give each student. The test also helps identify which students require increased practice and number sense skill building.

GO CARDS

Pass out the cards that are prescribed for each student as a result of their performance on the KENS Math Assessment. Remind students that their cards may be different than their neighbor’s cards. Instruct students to place the cards on their desk so that the side with the dot drawing is showing. Then ask them to flip a card over and show them how to find the answer in the star on the reverse side of the card. Direct the students to practice working through their GO cards.

TELL CARDS

Instruct students to place the cards on their desk so that the side with the equation(s) is showing. They should read the equation(s) in the box out loud. Then, they should give the sum or difference. Ask the students to flip one of the cards over and show them how to check their answer(s) in the star(s) on the reverse side of the card. Direct the students to practice working through their TELL cards.

USING THE SHOW CARDS

Instruct students to place the cards on their desk so that the side with the expression is showing. They should use the circle number line on the card to model the expression on the card. Then, they should state the answer out loud. Ask students to flip one card over and show them how to check their answer in the star on the reverse side of the card. Direct the students to practice working through their SHOW cards.