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Stopping the Summer Slump

Are your kids at risk of losing over two months of math skills?

It’s 120 degrees here in Arizona, and we’re blazing through summer vacation even faster than you think… And along the way, every one is trying to avoid summer slide. No, I’m not talking about a fancy bit of seasonal playground equipment. I’m talking about the loss of knowledge that typical students incur over their time away from the classroom.

While many students who are motivated to read over the summer break will actually improve their English skills, students typically lose over two months worth of math learning progress over summer vacation. It can take a corresponding amount of time at the start of the new school year to get back on track. Many of these statistics come from the RAND Corporation, which has studied the effects of summer learning loss, as well how summer learning programmings can reduce or reverse these effects across various demographics. Harvard University has weighed in specifically on math learning loss and this post provides some hints at activities you might consider to help retain math skills over the time away from school.

But obviously, those two months of lost math learning is something we can address right here… One of the most important skills is math fact fluency. There’s a reason we practice math facts so rigorously… They are involved in nearly every math task you perform, and accurate instantaneous recall of math facts is a huge success factor in any other applied math skill your little geniuses will encounter. Keeping fact recall sharp is an easy way to stay ready for back-to-school!

If you’ve mastered addition and subtraction, summer can still be a great opportunity to introduce multiplication or division… Regardless of where you’re at, you’ll find all the practice worksheets to keep busy through the summer below!

Addition Fact Practice Worksheets
Subtraction Fact Practice Worksheets
Multiplication Fact Practice Worksheets
Division Fact Practice Worksheets

And of course, I’d be completely skipping the fun part if I didn’t mention again the awesome Math Flash game I just developed. You can choose what type of math facts you want to work on, then the game will work drill you on harder problems at each level. If you miss facts, it repeats them so you get extra practice and with Google Chrome, you can use your voice and a microphone to give those tired fingers a break…

Regardless of how you plan to turn that summer math slide into a climb up the monkey bars, I hope your vacation is filled with lots of fun!

Now THIS is How You Practice Math Facts!

Yes, I’m all about the worksheets. And pencils.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t times I loosen things up a little bit and amp up the creativity. Because no matter how much fun that old-school math fact practice can be, I know the munchkins need a change of pace. Color, sound, drama… Everything a really good math fact game brings to the table. Along with a really huge twist, an amazing “One More Thing” that I’m going to save for the end of this post.

There many online flash card math games out there, and if you’ve seen the same ones I have, they’re dreadful. Most of them reinforce the idea that you do a few math problems to earn play time, which to me is almost psychologically predisposing kids to think that math is a sort of chore, or even punishment. There had to be a way to make the math practice part of the enjoyment and part of the reward, not the drudgery that gets you to the (lame) prize.

What I came up with is something that I think is the opposite of these attempts at math fact misery. Pick your operation and give it a spin right here, or you can get to it from anywhere on the site using the ‘Math Flash’ entry in the menu on the top of the page…

Math Flash Addition Game
Math Flash Subtraction Game
Math Flash Multiplication Game
Math Flash Division Game

What makes Math Flash different from other online flash card games? For one, the math facts are an integral part of the game… As you solve math problems, you’re building up a supply of color in the machine that will spray over the background. But you have to answer the facts quickly, because the machine leaks quite a bit. The more facts you answer correctly and the faster your answer them, the quicker you get through the level and the more colorful the artwork you’re building up. But importantly, the animation and the interactivity is happening while you answer the problems, and each problem you answer adds to the sense of progress you’re making on the level itself.

The levels in each version of Math Flash (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) are all tied to the Spaceship Math facts worksheets on this site. The levels start out with easier facts and gradually introduce new facts. You start with a set of the easiest facts for each operation, and subsequent levels add progressively more difficult facts to the mix. So the learning curve is incremental, but still rewarding for kids just beginning their journey of mastering a specific operation’s family of facts.

As I mentioned, you’ll also see that if you’re slow to answer facts or if you get some facts wrong, it’ll take more correct answers to get through a level. This means if you know the easier facts, you’ll move quickly to the next level. If you’re still struggling with certain fact families, you’ll get more practice on the problems you’re slow to answer. If you wind up not answer enough problems correctly on a level, the game will end and you’ll be given a link to the worksheet focusing on the facts you need to practice.

Also, if you miss problems, those will are show up more frequently. The game adapts itself to the specific skills and the specific trouble spots of individual players, getting them to the practice more on the math facts they need the most help with.

When you reach the end, whether you made it all the way through or just started missing too many facts along the way, you’ll have created a unique piece of artwork that will make you feel like Jackson Pollock. You can share this creation on Pinterest or Facebook if you like (and if you would, I’d really appreciate it!)

Oh, and there’s one more thing. If you’re using Chrome on the desktop, and if you have a microphone, Math Flash will make use of the HTML5 Web Speech API to let you give answers to problems using your voice! When I built MathFlash, I wanted to recreate as much of that childhood flash card experience (sans the 70’s print couch) as possible, and this feels like an incredibly natural way to practice math facts. Kids without strong typing or mouse skills will find this is a great way to practice math at their own pace, and it’s really a showcase of what can be done in a web browser today.

You’ll need a reliable internet connection, and for now it only works in Chrome, however the other browsers will hopefully implement this standard soon. If you don’t have Chrome, you can still play by clicking on the correct answers.

I hope you’ll give Math Flash a try and make it a part of your summer math fact retention plans!

I Got Skills… They’re Multiplying!

Multiplication Calculator

We spend a lot of time focused on multiplication tables, and getting past the stages of memorizing math facts is an important milestone. By the time we are working with multi-digit problems, we’re starting to deal with algorithms, the series of steps, necessary to solve problems. Fortunately, learning multi-digit addition and multi-digit subtraction, even with regrouping, is usually achieved without too much difficulty.

The steps for multi-digit multiplication require are a bit more demanding… In fact, it has all the fun of multi-digit addition on steriods right along with the twists multiplication brings as well. However, I’ve got a great tool that should take away some of the long multiplication anxiety…

Visual Multiplication Calculator

This calculator will let you multiply two long numbers together, and it shows you the intermediate products as it goes. Put a couple of numbers in there and hover your mouse over the work produced by the calculator… You’ll see what parts from the multiplicand and the multiplier are used to create each step, and it clearly shows how the place values are preserved as we work through the multiplier digits. It’s a great tool for developing an understanding of the conventional steps for multi-digit multiplication.

But, the most important thing is practice! These multi-digit multiplication worksheets work hand-in-hand with the multiplication calculator.

If you need review, be sure to also check out the complete series of multiplication worksheets, multiplication tables, and multiplication charts to really get your multiplication facts polished up!

Whoops! Missed Answers on the Bullseye Worksheets…

Math Fact Bullseye Worksheets

Well, many thanks to DadsWorksheets.com visitor Tracy for pointing out that I had missed the target by a mile on the latest version of the bullseye math facts worksheets! While the worksheets themselves were fine, the answer keys had the answers repeated in each ring. As if memorizing these math facts weren’t hard enough as it was.

Regardless, if you haven’t had a chance to check these worksheets out, they’re a lot of fun and put a slightly different spin on memorizing your math facts. And they’re easier to grade now too!

Bullseye Addition Facts Worksheets

Bullseye Subtraction Facts Worksheets

Bullseye Multiplication Facts Worksheets

Bullseye Division Facts Worksheets

Why Learning Long Division is so Important

Long Division Calculator

There are many milestones on the road through grade school math, but one in particular marks an especially significant destination. It’s the motherlode of arithmetic, a recipe with so many of the previous numerical ingredients from so many previous grades, a mountain of math skill awaiting its ascent, a task requiring the flexing of a mixed metaphor of mental muscles like no other.

And also, the one thing that strikes terror into a math-phobic 4th grader’s heart like the threat of a missed recess.

Long Division.

But does long division really need this huge build up? Is it really that much more difficult than, say, multiple-digit multiplication? Yes and no.

Long division is certainly a test of many different skills, but they are all ones that should be largely rote by the time long division is introduced. I believe the main issue that brings tears and seizures when long division pops up is essentially a lack of confidence in basic math facts. Learning the long division algorithm is a little daunting, but it’s a small step if the prerequisites are truly mastered. And so, let me just say it again… Drill, baby, drill.

That said, why is long division such an important rite of passage?

The four basic steps in long division (partial division, multiplying, subtracting, bringing down) all incorporate concepts ranging from basic operations and place value to simple numerical algorithms. These skills mimic a lot of what later, more abstract, math looks like. I’m staring at you algebra, hiding there around the corner.

Long division is the arithmetic skill that most closely resembles the mechanics of tasks in algebra, trigonometry, calculus and more. It requires doing several basic operations in a particular sequence, thinking about their results, trying intermediate solutions (especially with multiple digit divisors), backtracking and hopefully making sense of the process along the way.

This makes long division not just another skill to learn on the journey… It’s the first step down a completely different road.

Of course I wouldn’t be a good dad if I didn’t offer directions! I’ve had a collection long division worksheets with detailed answer keys on the site for quite some time, and they’re actually some of the top ranked math worksheets on the web.

I’ve also just created a long division calculator, and it’s one of the best teacher resources I’ve built on the site in a long time. Enter a divisor and a dividend, and it will work the problem in front of you, with remainders, in real time, and it provides guides that show where all the numbers come from. Trying to get across where that intermediate product comes from in that jumble below the problem? Watch the calculator run its course, then put your mouse over the digit in the quotient to highlight it and the product. It really is useful and it was a lot of fun to build….

Long Division Calculator

I hope you’ll give it a try yourself and share it with anyone you know that’s learning or teaching long division… It’ll go a long way towards paving that road towards future success in math.

Roman Numeral Worksheets… You know, for when you’re in Rome…

Roman Numerals Worksheet

Roman Numerals are one of those skills that seem unimportant until you realize you how often they show up all around you. You’ll see Roman numerals on everyday objects like clocks or buildings, but students progress into the science or law related subjects, you’ll start seeing Roman numerals showing up all over the place. Because of this, learning to read Roman numerals is a skill every student should be exposed to in the primary grades.

I’ve added a bunch of great Roman numeral resources to the site, including this Roman numeral converter and these Roman numeral charts. The Roman numeral charts are a great reference tool and include the rules for Roman numerals, so they could make the basis for a Roman numeral unit in the classroom.

But of course, you’ll need some worksheets for practice and assessment! With that in mind, here’s a collection perfect for your little Centurions to work on!

Roman Numeral Worksheets

Why Do We Still Need This Ancient Math Skill?

Radians or degrees, fractions or decimals… There are a lot of places in math (and definitely in other topics) where you can make a case for representing measurements in different forms.

But Roman numerals versus Arabic numerals, there you’ve got a much more compelling argument for letting the sands of history wear away at this 2,000 year old numbering system whose main claim to fame seems to be keeping track of how many times a certain prominent football game has been played (51, or Roman numeral “LI”, as of this post in case you’re curious.) Go ahead and disagree with me, and I’ll be assigning you some Roman numeral multiplication worksheets… We’ll see who gets the last laugh there!

Still, Roman numerals pop up in a number of odd spots unexpectedly and that makes at least knowing how to read them a necessary skill. You’ll bumble across them on traditional analog clock faces, page numbers for those pesky prefaces in books, that weird outline mode in Microsoft Word, and the “IV” at the end of your buddy’s name when his parents, grandparents and great-grand parents couldn’t think of a new first name besides “George” when the baby came. Any place where somebody wants to lend a certain historical gravitas, there too shall ye find Numeris Romanis.

So, learn them we must, but that doesn’t mean the process can’t be at least a little entertaining! This visual Roman numeral converter will help untangle some of the unusual nature of Roman numerals. It breaks down the more confusing parts of adding and subtracting values associated with Roman numeral digits making it a fantastic learning tool, and kind of fun to just play with…

Roman Numeral Converter

Give it a try and let me know what you think, and for more Roman numeral resources be sure to check out the Roman numeral charts on the site as well!

This Mega Ultimate 100×100 Multiplication Chart is HUGE!

Multiplication Chart 100x100

We love multiplication charts here at DadsWorksheets, and whenever we get a request for more, I’m happy to oblige!

While the multiplication chart 1-100 is by far the most popular version on the site, and there are several charts with products going up to 15×15=225, I’ve had a couple of people suggest we could go big. Really big.

The result is this amazing 100×100 Multiplication Chart!

Let’s be honest, getting a 100×100 table onto a single printable page isn’t an easy task, and it took a bit of work. Still, every multiplication fact is legible and there are shaded guides at the x10 facts horizontally and vertically to help keep you from getting dizzy. Also, the perfect squares are identified.

It looks a little rough on the screen, but trust me… Printed, this multiplication is artwork suitable for framing! Or at least worthy of inclusion in your math notebooks!

Need more charts? Let me know in the comments!

Try These Roman Numeral Charts, Centurion!

Roman Numerals Chart

When you’re learning Roman numerals, a Roman numerals chart is a great way to check yourself when tearing apart those tricky strings of X’s, V’s and C’s. Even if you’ve developed some proficiency with Roman numerals, often a chart is a great way to lookup values rather than go through the mental gymnastics required to turn a year into a Roman date. You can bet whatever guy whose job it is to cook up those copyright dates in the movie title credits is using a chart.

Roman Numerals Charts

That said, several versions of the Roman numerals charts here include also the basic Roman digits along with rules for reading Roman numerals. When you’re trying to get the mechanics down, these charts provide the best of both worlds. They’d be a great addition to your Latin or Classics folders!

Nota bene, dear friends!

Double Officially, One of the Best Sites of 2017 is…

…DadsWorksheets.com!

Just when I thought the holidays had passed and there wouldn’t be any more presents until birthday season roles around, the denizens of the home school universe dropped a few surprises on Dad’s virtual doorstep.

Our long time friends over at HomeSchool.com have again named DadsWorksheets as one of their top educational websites for the year, and I’m proud to be in the company of so many other amazing online resources for teaching math and an encyclopedia of other topics.

And over at HomeSchoolBase.com, we made both their 100 best sites of 2017 as well as their top 10 list for worksheet resources! A double honor! HomeSchoolBase is a relatively new place to visit, but they already have a library of great articles and resources.

Homeschool.com Top Educational Sites of 2017HomeSchoolBase.com Top Educational Sites of 2017

Both HomeSchool.com and HomeSchoolBase.com are fantastic resources for finding materials for home or classroom use. Check them out! Click either of the images above to go to their Best of 2017 lists. Then get right back here for your math facts worksheets!

Thanks to both of these sites for recognizing DadsWorksheets and Happy New Year, Everyone!

Math Worksheets