Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Math Facts Addition - Looking for Ten
Gess has been really slow about memorizing her math facts. She does fine if she memorizes one set at a time but when she starts to mix them up she seems to forget the ones that I know she knows. She seems to do much better if she has a visual tool to help her out. We used the book Teaching Math to People with Down Syndrome to make visual Math Fact Doubles cards. They were really great and now she has those down by heart, even if they are all mixed up.
Now we are trying to memorize all the facts that add up to 10. Well using flash cards for this doesn't make much sense because the answer is always going to be 10. So how do we get her to see which numbers we need? I came up with a couple of activities to help her out.
The first one we used for completing a worksheet or computer activity to practice the facts. Since they weren't yet memorized she had this tool to help her find the answer.
I had a pack of colored Unifix Cubes that I picked up a several years ago. I also got this 1-10 bar with it to set them in so you could visually see each number. The blocks came in stacks of 10 so what I did was put the number in each slot, but kept rest of the stack and placed it above the number. Now all Gess had to do was count how many were left to know what equaled 10.
As we used it I tried to point out the patterns, like how 9 and 1 were the farthest apart so if we went from 9 to 8 we would go from 1 to 2. I do not think she quite understood but I think our next activity helped to expand on that idea.
For this activity I used number tiles to make hands on addition problems with the assistance of a number line to help her work them out.
She had to visually choose which numbers added up to 10. To help her figure it out she was allowed to use the number line at the top. I have a number line that goes up to 20 so I folded it at the 10 since that is our focus.
Now she could choose any number and then put her finger on it and see how far it was from 10. To get the answer for "what plus two equals ten" we would move our finger from 10 two places to the left. 8 is two places from 10 so the answer was 8. I then showed her how you could move the same amount of spaces from zero to get to the number 2, trying to help her see visually what the answer is without having to actually move the fingers. I don't know if she gets that but it seems to make sense to me. Moving the same amount of steps from both 10 and 0 at the same time always gets us the pairs of numbers that equal 10.
Gess picked it up pretty quickly. As she began she could choose whatever number she wanted to start with and then used the number line to find the pair. She always starts with 5 because she already knows her doubles! Here she is working out 3 plus what equals 10.
It seems to me this hands on work is really helping it stick. The visual of the time line, unifix cubes, and holding the numbers in her hands makes a memorable experience and cements it in the brain. She already seems to be getting 8 plus 2 without the helps.
She still gets stuck with 6 plus 4 and 7 plus 3 but I think after awhile of doing these activities she will have them for good. She knows her 1 facts so she should technically know that 9 plus 1 equals 10 but in this context she doesn't automatically make that connection. That is the trouble with math for her. Those connections don't come naturally to her like they do the rest of us all.
So I will keep trying to find ways to help her make those connections. I guess next we go back to simply memorizing the facts unless I can find other fun ways to visualize them. I think working them out with the tiles will still be helpful. Grabbing the number rather than simply saying them is not only helpful for memorization but sometimes its just more fun.