Why your child should know Doubles Facts while theyre young

Jun 30, 2022 | Red Deer

Numerical Fluency includes knowing doubles facts, and kids should learn about it from kindergarten. At this level, they should understand doubles facts of basic numbers: from 1+1 to 5+5, plus 10+10. And when they’re in grade 1, they should know from 1+1 to 12+12. 

Learning doubles facts - or math in general - with manipulatives allows students to move from concrete experiences to abstract reasoning.  


Learning doubles facts through playing is learning the fun way! 


Why does a younger student need to know double facts? It will help them to expand their math skills to more complex math problems.

  1. It helps them do sums over 10 such as 6+7 or 9+8 by using doubles and plus or minus 1. 
  2. If they’re able to do doubling, they would know halving; for example, half of 14 is 7. And when they’re progressing to half of odd numbers, they would know that half of 19 is 9 ½ because 19 is 18+1, and half of 18 is 9, and half of 1 is ½ so you would add them together to get 9 ½.
  3. It will help them do double of multiples of tens in grade 2. When they’re asked what is double of 35, they’d know quickly that it is 70 because 30 doubled is 60 and 5 doubled is 10, so the answer is 60+10 = 70. Many fifth or sixth graders do not know this by heart, instead they take pencil and paper, and stack two numbers of 35 vertically and do two-digit vertical addition. We have seen kids rely on algorithms to solve simple math too often. The same with halving. They would know half of 90 is 45 because 90 is 80+10. Half of 80 is 40 and half of 10 is 5. Again, too many kids solve this by counting 2/ 90 on a paper, relying on the only way they know: the algorithmic way. And some parents would say: “Why shouldn’t they use the strategy that they’re comfortable with? As long as the answer is correct, does it matter?” Yes, it does. Relying on algorithms to solve simple math does not grow your child’s number sense, creativity and problem solving; instead, they become so procedural and lose their sense of the magnitude of a number and how numbers relate to each other. One time a sixth grader did two stacks of vertical subtraction when asked what is 165-163. I was surprised and sad at the same time. It takes time to eliminate bad habits when they’re already in upper elementary. And starting in middle school–when they’re allowed to use a calculator, their number sense will get even worse if it was not strong in the first place. 
  4. They’ll have a smooth process when learning quartering – i.e. half of half – in grade 3. They would know that a quarter of 60 is 15 because half of 60 is 30, and half of 30 is 15. They would know that half of half of 1 is ¼ or a quarter, because it’s just half of half. Many kids are not aware of that, it is very common to see a sixth grader answer “zero” when asked what is half of half.

So you can see that laying math foundations since your child is young is very important as math is built upon itself, layer by layer, brick by brick. And just like learning a language, the younger they are introduced, the more fluent they will be. 


Acknowledge your child’s pace and learning style

Some kids got confused easily when introduced a new concept. We have one student who got mixed up between “doubling” and “halving”, so we need to be gentle and adjust to their pace and learning style. For younger kids, introducing a new concept with manipulatives and games work really well (see pictures above). They can relate much better with real objects that they can see and touch as they’re not abstract like reading and writing numbers on a worksheet. Our centre uses a number of manipulatives for doubling. Not only with pictures like shown below, but also with real objects like a dozen eggs in a carton, 6-pack soda cans, spider and cat toys, big truck ’18 wheelers’, etc. For games, we ask kids to play Tic Tac Toe doubles. Having a “mentor” i.e. an older student to play with is also fun, because both can gain positive experience from that.  For halving, using cookies always work! ðŸ˜Š




Mathnasium of Red Deer is your neighbourhood’s math-only learning centre, and we are here to help your child. Our centre director, Riwan, and the whole team, would be happy to meet you! We are conveniently located in the shopping destination area in Red Deer: 5250 22nd St, Unit 30 B – at the Gaetz Avenue Crossing shopping centre, in the same area as Chapters Indigo/Starbucks, Michael Arts, Petland and Ashley, and the phone number is 403-872 MATH (6284). 

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