## Worksheet Fixes… Undo! Undo! Undo!

I gather entropy in the universe is supposed to be increasing. Turns out, around here, not so much.

Many thanks to JohnnyFourAces for pointing out that the randomness quotient of some of the worksheets had decreased in a recent update. For some of the “All Math Facts” worksheets, it went down substantially and centered on the earlier (easier) facts in the series.

Fixes for this have been posted, and additionally I added one and two minute timed worksheets to the Spaceship Math Multiplication Facts section to that include sets without the “times zero” and “times one” facts. Cutting these “gimme problems” really increases the density of more difficult multiplication facts and when your student is ready for these, any Mad Minute or Rocket Math timed test at school will seem much easier.

Happy Monday, everyone!

## Multiplication Worksheets Updated

Learning multiplication is one of the big milestones in learning math. I’ve touched on it before and I imagine this won’t be the last time either. Your school may be using Mad Minutes or Rocket Math or similar timed drills to teach multiplication, but no matter how you approach it, learning multiplication is about worksheets. Lots and lots of worksheets.

This summer marked the start of teaching my youngest daughter her times tables, and even with the all the earlier worksheets on the site, we managed to identify a few gaps. Here’s a breakdown of the strategy we’ve been using and a link to our new favorite worksheet…

• Master Dad’s 8 Rules for Learning Multiplication These sheets build the basic skills necessary to figure out the answer to a multiplication fact if it isn’t memorized.
• Fill in a Multiplication Grid Worksheet at the start of big practice sessions. This can be used as a “cheat sheet” if necessary, but it also helps get some of the facts straight before the pressure of a timed test.
• Drill with comprehensive worksheets. The current favorite is a new one we just added: 100 Problem Multiplication Worksheet, No x0, x1 or x@. Versions of this worksheet basically has all the easy multiplication problems stripped out, so it’s a great exercise for mastering the facts.
• When we uncover specific multiplication facts that are giving us problems, we either use the Spaceship Math pages or the Conventional Multiplication Series worksheets to reinforce the problem fact.

Regardless of how you approach it, the site here has a a number of different worksheet series to help you. In addition to the new sheets without 0, 1 and 2 mentioned above, you can find new two minute practice worksheets in the conventional multiplication series at the link here…

If you have an idea for worksheets, leave a comment here, or if one of these is working well for you, consider giving a Google “+1″ click under the logo above so other multiplication seekers can find success here as well!

Hope your summer vacation has been great!

## Fact Family Worksheet Series

Why do you think we seem to focus on teaching operators in series? Memorizing all of our addition facts before moving on to subtraction, then multiplication, then division? I’m increasingly convinced this isn’t an ideal strategy.

If you have followed this site for any length of time, you probably picked up our minor struggles with subtraction facts. My older daughter has the addition, multiplication and division tables completely memorized, but I still occasionally see those fingers flying as she manipulates through some subtraction fact that should have been memorized, oh, four years ago. Right now I think I’ve used math to prepare her for piano lessons. It’s less and less frequent, still, I cringe. Cringe.

What’s especially frustrating is that I know this is somehow my fault. She’s clearly got every other fact down cold and the inverse relationship between multiplication and division registered almost instantly. In fact, I remember the division timed tests, even the division with remainders sheets, being one of the easier series we went through. It just appears the inverse relationship between addition and subtraction never really clicked the way it should have.

Determined not to repeat whatever happened, I’ve started drilling my younger pupil using a new set of worksheets based around fact families instead of operations. In fact, I’m going to start whipping these out if I see the fingers moving on the older one. Just like most of the other worksheets on the site, these worksheets are structured where they progressively build up facts, but each level adds “fact families” so that the inverse operation gets introduced right away. There are different series for addition/subtraction and multiplication/division, with variants for one minute and two minute drills.

Will it work? Check with me in another four years. After the piano recital.

Fact Family Worksheets

## 100 Problem Timed Tests Posted

Well, the new school year has kicked off here and I’m leading a first and fifth grader this year through the math jungle. For my younger daughter, we’re starting back near the beginning of the material on the site. This’ll be a good opportunity for me to tune up and improve some of the worksheets we haven’t looked at in a while here.

Our fifth grader just started at BASIS Scottsdale, a local charter school with an outstanding reputation for rigorous academics. The organization runs schools at several locations in Arizona, and recently announced that former Intel chief Craig Barett has taken over as president and chairman of the board. We’re excited to be there… and just a little nervous. I just finished reading over the curriculum through high school graduation, and I can see differential calculus coming just a tad sooner than anticipated. Like 10th grade. Holy Liebniz, Batman!

For fifth grade, BASIS uses Saxon Math 7/8 and we’re off to a good start there. The initial diagnostic tests for the basic math operations are 100 problem tests given with a two minute time limit. For practice, I built a set of new worksheets that mimic the 10 x 10 Saxon layout and we’ve been drilling these here over the weekend.

Beyond the basic operations, it looks like the early part of the year covers a lot of percentages and ratios, so maybe my eagerness to get away from fraction-related content may be premature. Either way, we’ll have fun!

Meanwhile you can find the new 100 problem, two minute timed tests at the links below…

Also, the ‘All Problems’ addition tests have been updated to include variants that don’t have the ‘X+0′ problems. This should create some more rigorous worksheets for memorizing the more difficult facts.

## General Worksheet Improvements, More Fractions Coming!

The number of new worksheets posted has been a little slow lately, but that doesn’t mean there haven’t been a number of useful changes. The worksheets on the site have all been refreshed and I think you’ll find a number of sheets are more useful.

Read the rest of this entry »