Learning Maths Facts

Learning at home looks, and feels, quite different from learning at school for parents, students and teachers, and we are all adapting to this at the moment. One aspect of learning that is likely to be quite different compared to your experience of school is lesson design and thinking in mathematics. Our approach to teaching and learning of mathematics is structured around the key proficiencies of developing understanding, fluency, problem-solving and reasoning, as outlined in the Victorian Curriculum.

Fluency refers to the ability to choose appropriate procedures, carry out procedures flexibly, accurately, efficiently and appropriately, and recall factual knowledge and concepts readily. Traditionally, fluency was taught through rote learning and memorisation of knowledge such as multiplication facts, as well as processes for computation. For many learners, these methods do not support the development of deeper mathematical understanding and reasoning. There are, however, other ways we can develop fluency that allows all learners to develop understanding at an appropriate level and rate. Some of the strategies we use are number games, the exploration of arrays, number talks and inquiries into efficient strategies for problem-solving. 

An example of a dice game to play which builds fluency and understanding with multiplication is called ‘Land Grab’, where the aim of the game is to get as much land (squares on grid paper) as possible. With 2 - 4 players taking it in turns to roll two dice, one dice becomes the length & the other the width. Each player chooses where to place the rectangle or square & writes the corresponding multiplication statement inside of the shape, claiming your land.

Professor Jo Boaler from Stanford University has spent many years researching effective mathematics education and has developed several resources that explain and give examples of approaches to teaching and learning that build fluency, understanding, reasoning and problem-solving. The following article about fluency describes the research as well as strategies for developing fluency in maths facts if you are interested in reading more.

Fluency Without Fear: Research evidence on the best way to learn maths facts

Head of Learning – Primary