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Connie McCarthy is passionate about her work as a teacher of young children. She has devoted her entire career to making sure that her students do well at school, right from the start. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She has been teaching first grade in East Providence, R.I. for 23 years, where she received the distinction of “Highly Qualified Teacher” by the Rhode Island State Board of Regents. Connie also taught nursery school for four years, and published numerous articles on early education in East Bay Newspapers in Bristol, R.I. She’s also been published in PTO Today Magazine. She lives with her husband, Brian, and has a daughter and a son, both young adults. Connie enjoys reading, writing about elementary education, and taking long walks with friends. During summer vacations, she likes to travel with her husband. She also loves reading readers’ comments on her weekly blog posts.

Make Math Facts More Automatic With Simple Math Games

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DiceThe more "automatic" your child can be with basic math facts, the more he or she will be able to easily recall them. This recall can then be applied to more difficult math calculations. In education, we call this math "automaticity."

Here are two simple ways to help your young child increase their math automaticity.

  • Start this activity using one die from a pair of dice. Directions: Have your child roll the die, count the dots, and tell you the number. Then ask, "What is the number that comes right before? What is the number that comes right after?" This game should be played for about 10-15 minutes at a time. Revisit the game often, eventually using up to four dice. You will be able to tell when to use additional dice by the ease of your child’s answers.


    When you use two dice, add the dots for the total number then have your child tell you the number that comes before and after. Using dice (two or more) involves addition, as well as number sequence. This practice helps your child know sequential numbers without having to go back and count, or use a number chart.

  • Young children love knowing "tricks." I taught my own children and my students the "1’s" trick and the "0’s" trick. Simply put, the one’s trick means when you plus one (+ 1) the answer is always the number that comes right after, or next. (For example (5+1=6) When you minus one (-1) the answer is always the number that comes just before. (5-1=4)


    The zero "trick" is that when you plus (+) or minus (-) zero the other number in the equation always stays the same.

Simple games like these make learning math facts fun!


#3 Joel Gaslin 2011-01-17 16:21
Here's a great resource for lots of math games and activities. There are games for all grade levels, some are free, some are in pdf downloadable ebooks and some are for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.

#2 Jane 2011-01-16 16:20
I find that dice games are a great way to develop fact fluency while having fun with children. I recently came across a lot of useful resources for board and dice games in the addition and subtraction section at the website below after reading about it on a teacher blog:

#1 Lynn C 2011-01-13 17:15
Great tips! Thank you.

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