If there is one skill that virtually all kids could use greater fluency, confidence and understanding of, it would probably be the multiplication facts. Even for kids who understand multiplication and feel confident, they would likely still benefit from extra practice and review. A quick search of my website will bring up dozens of fun and engaging ways to practice multiplication, from hands on models to printable board games to card games. And while those are all great and helpful options, sometimes you might be looking for a way to practice multiplication facts independently. Or a way to practice one specific set of facts, such as x7 or x8. In that case, check out my new multiplication app for kids: Fact Fluency: Mastering Multiplication.
What is Fluency with Multiplication Facts?
If the goal is for your students to be fluent with their multiplication facts (1×1 up to 10×10), then we should probably be sure we understand what ‘fluent’ means. First of all, it is helpful to begin with what it is not: fluent does not necessarily mean fast, and it is not merely accurate (though of course we want students to be accurate).
Principles and Standards for School Mathematics, from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics explains fluency this way (p.152):
“Computational fluency refers to having efficient and accurate methods for computing. Students exhibit computational fluency when they demonstrate flexibility in the computational methods they choose, understand and can explain these methods, and produce accurate answers efficiently. The computational methods that a student uses should be based on mathematical ideas that the student understands well, including the structure of the base-ten number system, properties of multiplication and division, and number relationships.”
In other words, being fluent with multiplication facts means that students have a deep understanding of what multiplication represents, how different models relate to multiplication, and can choose models and strategies based on their understanding to arrive at an accurate solution efficiently.
For example, if a child wants to solve the problem 8×9, strategies might be to skip count by 8’s or to add 8 nine times. But these are not efficient methods because they are time consuming and prone to error.
Instead, students who have number sense and fluency can think of this problem as (8×10) – 8 to get 72. This is quicker and they’ll be less likely to make a computational error.
This is the goal of the app Fact Fluency: Mastering Multiplication.
NEW Multiplication App for Kids:
To be completely honest and transparent, I have not tested every single multiplication app available on iTunes. And since I am the one who designed this app, I am obviously biased when I say it’s the best.
However, in glancing through the options on iTunes, there seems to be a theme in what I see:
- Flash cards
- Lack of visuals and meaningful strategies
These types of multiplication fact practice may lead to memorization, but as I talked about before, not necessarily fluency with the facts. That’s why my app is different. Want a sneak peek? Check out the video preview:
Here’s some of what your kids will see as they make their way through the learning paths:
- Visuals to support a conceptual understanding
- Short, animated tutorials to highlight effective strategies
- Engaging games to practice one set of facts at a time
- A logical order to learn the facts so that they develop number sense and fluency
How to Use Fact Fluency: Mastering Multiplication
To begin, there are two main ‘sections’ on the app: “Learn Math Facts” and “Review Games.”
The math facts learning paths are designed to help kids work through, visualize and practice each set of multiplication facts as they make their way down the learning paths. The facts are explored in this order:
- x2 facts
- x10 and x5 facts
- x4 facts
- x3 facts
- x6 facts
- x9 facts
- x7 facts
- x8 facts
Although kids can start on any of these learning paths, they are designed to build on one another and work together to build math fluency. So ideally, kids will start with the x2 path and work through them all in order.
Within each learning path, kids have to complete each task or game before moving onto the next. This ensures they cover everything taught in that learning path. This includes things like:
- Seeing multiplication as equal groups
- Using arrays and area models to visualize multiplication
- Learning and review the commutative property of multiplication
- Using a number line or hundreds chart to solve multiplication facts and see patterns
- Tutorials to model strategies using visuals such as area models
- Engaging games to practice a single set of facts
- Number bonds to see the relationship between multiplication & division
- Games to practice finding the missing factor
Each task set is designed to be short to keep kids attention and prevent them from feeling frustrated and give up.
Additionally, if they solve a problem incorrectly, they are given the chance to try again so they see it as an opportunity to learn and grow rather than as a failure.
Multiplication App Review Games:
Of course, as I said in the beginning, we all know that kids can always use more practice. So once they’ve completed the learning paths, they can go back and play any of the games again, or you as the parent or teacher can ‘reset’ a path so they can do it again:
If you reset the path, they will have to start at the beginning (say the x9 path) and work through each task or game in that path in order again.
If your kids just need general practice with all the facts mixed together, it’s time for the ‘review games.’
When you first open the app and click play, kids can choose “Review Games” to work on all the multiplication facts mixed together.
The review games section includes some games that will be familiar from the learning paths, but no longer focusing only on a particular set of facts.
There are also some new games to try out, as well as some two-player games.
These review games can be used anytime your kids need a refresher or additional practice with multiplication. They also make a fun way for partners to work together, or a fun activity for early finishers.
Ready To Get Started?
I hope you and your kids enjoy this fun, new multiplication app for kids. And of course, if you have an idea for improvement or a feature you’d like to see in it, let me know! We want this to be the best app out there to help your kids master multiplication!
Fact Fluency: Mastering Multiplication is available to download in the iTunes app store.
You can use it on your iPhone or iPad.
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