Building Strength in Computation Skills

Computation Skills

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Computation Skills are Essential

One area where students may struggle in math is in computation.  Computation skills are essential to being able to solve math problems.  Children need to learn to be able to compute both mentally and when using a calculator.  The faster and more accurate their skills, the easier it will be to solve multiple-step and more complex problems.

Frequent and Repetitive Practicing

Frequent and repetitive practicing of addition, subtraction, and multiplication basic facts is very important.  Children need to be able to quickly calculate in their head these simple problems.  One way to improve memorization of addition facts is to create number bonds.  This is when a child takes a problem like 9+7 and solves is by 9+1=10+6=16.  By adding with the round number, the addition is able to be solved faster.  Playing online games like Number Bonds on Math Playground is a great way to practice this skill.  This game is similar to Zuma, except you have to make matches of numbers that add up to 10.

Practicing Subtraction

For practicing subtraction, you can use many of the same skills used for addition.  Additional ideas for practice would be using manipulatives like blocks or Popsicle sticks to solve problems.  Using number lines is also helpful to practice counting backward.  I really like using sandwich bags to practice using the slider for a number line, like in this previous post.

Multiplication Facts

Multiplication facts are typically practiced through flash cards and times table practice.  You can use a worksheet to have your child fill in the different answers on the chart for them to see the patterns created by the times tables to help in memorization.  Math is Fun also has some great tips including that order doesn’t matter with times tables so you only really have to learn half of the chart, breaking down the learning into chunks, and recognizing patterns.

What games, activities, and worksheets do you use to practice computation skills at home?

Check Smart Tutor Elementary Math Curriculum and Free Math Games

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