When it comes to practicing math facts, I’ve always found it most beneficial to practice for fluency as I am teaching addition strategies. (I talk about the perks of this method here). One of the difficult things about teaching math facts by strategy, or even by addend, is that there are few general centers and games which practice them in this way. Usually there are games and activities which focus on mixed fact review, which is a great thing to do once you’ve gotten a basic handle on facts. The problem is that when all the facts are just introduced in a big slew is that they often feel random and overwhelming for kiddos.
The best solution I have found is teacher created resources. At first, I found and purchased some resources on teacherspayteachers, and then I started to create my own to meet the unique needs of my students.
I often welcomed and enjoyed groups of students who benefited from tons of differentiation, which is why I established routines which supported differentiation, like a guided math approach. With these groups of students, it became like a mission for me to create games which could meet the vast array of needs of my students.
Here are 5 of my favorite types of math fact practice centers, games, and activities to support building math fact fluency.
Roll and Record Games-
I love using roll and record games to build math fact fluency because they can be done with partner or alone. I can also use foam dice with dots, Foam Numbered Dice , 10 sided dice and more! Sometimes I even use dice with 1, 2, or 3 dots only and focus on a certain skill, such as counting when they add.
Here’s a link to some free roll and record game templates.
Like roll and record games, spinner games can be played with a partner or alone. I like to create seasonal and differentiated spinners as one way to keep fact practice engaging. I can put whichever numbers I’d like on the spinners, and then students can practice the skills at hand. I like to have a recording sheet that can be used with any of the spinners and can be used to practice addition, 3 addends, fact families, and even multiplication.
Color By Code:
There are tons of reasons I love color by code activities across the board. I used them in many ways in my classroom, and one of those ways is to practice math facts. This is also a great, and quiet, way for students to practice independently. I have created color by code resources with doubles and near doubles as a focus as well as mixed fact review, so I can focus on just what my students need. I’ve also created a bunch that are addition to 20, so they can be differentiated with the same picture set.
Write the Room
Write the room resources are such a fun way to get kids up and moving to practice a number of skills. (Here’s a link to a post about how I used them in my classroom). When I first started teaching I would just number index cards and write math facts on them. Now that I’ve gotten fancier, I’ve compiled my write the room resources into printable teaching resources. What I love about them is that I can also post a couple of different sets of cards with different borders and have different students go through the center just focusing on different color set of cards that meets their needs.
I love using bump games in my classroom. I also use roll and color as another take on this activity. In a bump game, students each choose 10 counters/ cubes of one color and a partner chooses 10 in a different color. They can either roll or spin to add depending on which method the game set you’re using asks for. Then they mark the answer with their cube. If the other player rolls or spins the same sum, they can bump the other players cube off the board. If they have a cube or counter on a spot and then roll or spin the same sum again, they can “lock” the space and they can’t be bumped off the space. My students always loved the bit of fun competition that takes place during this game, and that there is a winner. I love that I can make my bump games have any set of numbers I’d like to to practice different skills. For example, I created a counting on spin and bump game which has two spinners to add. I’ve also created basic “roll 2 dice and add” bump games to practice basic fact fluency.
If you’d like to give a hand at creating some of these kinds of resources, you can really personalize for what you’d like. If you’d rather purchase them, you can likely search the type of game and the particular skill you’re working on and probably find something that fits your needs!