Eureka Math® Seasonal Associate Kurt Stielow recently wrote an article in Edutopia, 4 Ways to Make Math Fluency Activities Fun, that shows how effective fluency activities offer students play while cementing math facts.
Stielow serves as academic dean at St. Marcus School in Milwaukee. The school uses Eureka Math and Eureka Math2® along with the curricula’s embedded fluency activities. He suggests all teachers try math games and activities as part of their mathematics curriculum.
How Can You Use Math Games to Increase Fluency with Your Students?
Stielow says, “Done well, fluency activities can become a key part of your instruction and can reinforce skills from previous units, help students review materials from previous lessons, or provide a runway into a current math objective.”
He offers the following math fluency activity suggestions.
Have younger students count in a rhythm and move their arms or feet to the beat, or ask older students to put themselves in order of least to greatest when assigned decimal numbers.
Keep It Simple
Use a counting exercise scaffolded to meet the needs of your students. The article mentions, “Have them count by fives, 10s, fractions, negatives, decimals—and the list goes on. If this becomes too simple, spice it up by asking students to start their counting from a different number, like counting by threes from 127 or 25s starting at 1,025.”
Move Learning Outside the Classroom
Ask students who are waiting in line to add $0.75 plus $1.75. “If students are engaged in thinking about math, managing your line gets a lot easier. Two birds, one stone,” the article states.
Repeat Your Fluency Focus Until Students Get It
When counting by nines, Stielow says, “Keep it fresh by asking them to start in a different place every day. For example, ‘Let’s count by nines starting at 36.’”
Nell McAnelly is the chair of the Great Minds PBC board of directors. She has taught math at the high school and university level for more than 30 years.
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Nell McAnelly has taught mathematics at the high school and university levels for more than 30 years. She also served as co-director of the Louisiana State University Cain Center for STEM Literacy, where she directed a number of high-profile projects requiring expertise in the design and implementation of standards-based professional development and curriculum instruction for K–12 teachers. Most recently, Nell was Great Minds’ project director for the New York State Mathematics Curriculum Development Project (EngageNY), now known as Eureka Math.