Numerical Fluency Tips – The Visual Element

Oct 18, 2012
In the last blog posting I discussed the importance of developing numerical fluency (the ability to effortlessly recall and use basic number facts). Unfortunately, many students in 2nd through 5th grades, and at times even higher, have a limited grasp of numerical fluency. To avoid making mathematics a frustrating process for all those involved in the teaching and learning process, today I will go over some tips, designed for parents with children in elementary school, to effortlessly recall number facts.

Before I begin...

Think about the last time you attended an excellent presentation. It could be a classroom lecture, a keynote speaker discussing the importance of social media, or even a YouTube clip explaining how to tie a tie. The common quality in any excellent presentation is a facilitator explaining goals and objectives right from the beginning to ensure the audience is on the same page. After that, a great follow up tool is the visual element.

Visual elements add impact and interest to a lesson. Pictures are useful in reinforcing many concepts. Let's look at this image for example. 

NumericalFluency 
 Possible questions you can ask are:
  • How many circles are there in the picture?
  • If each circle is a penny, how much money is shown in the picture?
  • If each circle is a dime (a nickel, a quarter, etc.), how much money is shown in the picture?
  • Shade in half of the circles. How many are not shaded in?
  • Shade in half of the circles that are not shaded in. Now how many circles are not shaded in?
  • Again, shade in half of the circles that are not shaded in. Now how many circles are not shaded in?
When a child has a visual element to look at, concepts as simple as counting, or slightly more complex like fractions, become easier to understand.

In my next blog posting, I will go over tips to effortlessly recall addition and subtraction facts. For now, use visual elements to practice concepts with your child!

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