Five Fun Ways to Practice Math Fact Fluency

Hey, ya'll! I'm very happy to be apart of a fun blog hop on one of my favorite topics - teaching math facts. It's hosted by the very sweet Joy Hall of Joy of Teaching. Be sure to scroll all the way down (and why wouldn't you anyway?? :P), so you can hop on over to the next awesome tip for learning math facts.

 So let me share with you five fun ways that I have my students work and improve their math fact fluency.

1) Poke Cards

I create and use these guys all year long. Here is an example of how it works with my FREE Multiplication Beach Ball Poke Cards.

You print them out, cut and laminate them, and then hole-punch the plus signs.

Then taking a light-colored marker, you circle the correct answer on the back.

Students then take a coffee stirrer, a pencil tip, a cupcake pick, or in this case a cocktail umbrella (ok, I would not suggest the latter, but it's all I had in the house and it makes for cute pics :P), and pick the right answer to the fact.

Then they self-check or partner-check by looking to see if they "poked" the right circle on the back. 

Now, to make this a fluency exercise, have students time each other and see how many they can poke correctly in a minute. They can set goals to beat their previous record every time they practice these cards. If you'd like to learn more about poke cards,  just click here.

2) Arcademics Skill Builders

You may be familiar with this website, but if you're not, it's fabulous. There are tons of games for students to practice fact fluency. And the cool thing is, it's an online experience, so students can play against other students from all over the world. This is a great website to share with parents of students who are struggling with their facts. And if you're ever in the computer lab or are fortunate enough to have a computer or two in your classroom along with an interactive whiteboard, you should definitely have a teacher/student challenge. Students love this! 

3) Math Fact Bottle Caps

This will be my fourth year I believe implementing this activity. I'm starting to get a little tired with it, but students get so addicted to practicing their facts this way.

Basically I've created Avery labels for students to practice the basic facts for all four operations. The problem is on the top, the answer is inside.

For my 4th graders, I put about 40 or so in one can (Pringles, actually) and students practice with each other to try to answer all of them in one minute. When their partner says a student has accomplished this feat, they must face the final test - completing the facts with the teacher holding the timer. No pressure! If they achieve this, they receive a QR code behavior coupon (free, too)

4) Facts Ball

I made this from a Dollar General ball to help students practice their multiplication facts. Any kind of foam ball will hold the marker color pretty well.

We just toss it around when there are a few minutes left in the day. Students have to answer whatever fact their right thumb lands on. To practice fluency, see how many the class as a whole can do in a minute. Try to improve every time you play. Or you could do girls against boys. That is usually harmless competitive fun. Usually.

5) Ice Cream Party Motivator

Last but not least, the good ol' timed quiz. Noooo, you say, not timed quizzes. Kids will hate math forever! Well, math facts are only a small piece of mathematical understanding and skill, and I make sure my students know that. And I don't call them quizzes, we call them practice. There are no grades, but if they score a certain percentage right, they get to start building their own virtual ice cream.

Once all students complete their virtual ice cream (and they all do, even if I do private practices with them during recess), it's time for the real deal. Ice cream party celebration. Oh, yeah.

To learn more details about how this works along with freebie clip art and ice cream party tickets, visit Laura Candler at her blog where I wrote a guest post on this subject.

So that was five, right? Ok! So, now that you're down here finally, please head on over Mr. Elementary Math's super duper post on addition facts web games. Have fun hoppin'!

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Tabitha Carro


  1. I LOVE the poke cards! I've made poke card flashcards with all of the facts on one card, but this is so much neater (and easier to understand!). What a great self-checking way for kids to practice their math facts! Thanks so much for the freebie, too! :)

    Joy Hall
    Joy of Teaching

  2. I absolutely LOVE the idea of using cocktail umbrellas with the poke cards! I'm sure there are plenty of other things that would work, but who doesn't love those little umbrellas? I'm up for any little trick that will motivate the kids to want to use the activity! Thanks for the great ideas on fact fluency!

    Sally from Elementary Matters

  3. I absolutely love your ice cream motivator! I love the fact that you can pop it up quickly on the SmartBoard, instead of having it up on the wall at all times. Thanks for sharing your ideas!!

    EduKate and Inspire

  4. I really like the bottle cap idea. It is good to hear that your students are engaged practicing math facts. This is a good alternative to worksheets.

    Mr Elementary Math Blog

  5. I am going to share this with my friend who teaches 4th and 5th grade math and then start collecting bottle caps for her as I am sure it will be on her list. Thanks for the fun and practical ideas.


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