How to Learn Math Facts

Get advice on helping K-5 students memorize their math facts, so their basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division comes automatically.

How to Learn Math Facts

Every student must at some point tackle math facts. But what are math facts? It's a term those outside of teaching may not be familiar with.

In short, math facts are the basic math problems that kids should be able to just know without thinking about them, or at least not thinking much. The stereotypical math fact is of course "2 + 2 = 4" - no one needs to think about this, it's just natural.

Beyond the basics though, there are many math facts that we expect people to just know in everyday life, including:

  • Addition of numbers up to 20 (at least)
  • Subtraction of numbers up to 20, or where the second number is up to 20, regardless of the first number
  • Multiplication at least up to the 10s, ideally up to the 12s
  • Multiplication of numbers by 10
  • Division (times tables up to 12 in reverse)
  • Division of numbers by 10

Most kids can get the concepts and do the problems for any of these after they've been taught, but the real trick that many kids struggle with is making the answers come to them automatically.

Younger kids will usually count out addition and subtraction problems on their fingers (if you're not looking!), and older kids learning multiplication will often count up by what they're multiplying by to get the answer (e.g. to get 5 x 4, they'll count 5, 10, 15, 20!).

This, of course, is cheating. :D

It's natural, and when they're just getting started, it's fine to allow some of this, but once kids seem to have a good sense of what they're doing, you'll want to keep them from counting to get their answers.

And, the best way to help them memorize these math facts? Reinforcement learning. That is, practice! Repeated practice!

Learnamic lists a wide variety of tools to help learn math facts, from printable worksheets to flash cards to apps to online games. Any and all of them are great ways to keep your kids engaged and to help them.

Check out a few featured resources below, or go to our Math Facts Topic Page to see everything we have listed.

Math Fact Cafe offers online resources for K-5 learners offers printable worksheets with strategic grouping of problems
Mathopolis is an affordable app for iPhone/iPad offers a variety of math games, all for free!

More resources on our Math Facts Topic Page.

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