**Times Tables Practice**

One of the most common problems I see with my students is their not knowing their times tables. Calculators come in, and knowledge of times tables tends to go out. But you need that knowledge in order to factor polynomials and simplify fractions. A calculator isn’t going to do that for you.

Students will also perform better on classroom and standardized tests if they have the speed that comes with having the times tables memorized. Plus the SATs have a non-calculator portion to their math test.

For a fun and easy way to improve a student’s multiplication skills, go to the following link :

http://www.mathsisfun.com/numbers/math-trainer-multiply.html

Once a student can work all of the times tables and get 40 correct answers and 0 wrong with the timer set for 2 minutes, they are baseline competent. However, students should work up to 60 correct and 0 wrong in 2 minutes.

**Addition and Subtraction Tables – NO MORE Counting on Fingers!**

The problems I see with multiplication also extend into addition and subtraction. Sadly, I still have students counting on their fingers in order to figure out sums… 😦 As with the multiplication tables, addition and subtraction of small numbers should be memorized. It is really sad to watch someone get a problem wrong because they couldn’t add 9 and 4.

The same site that provides the times table trainer also provides a skills trainer for addition and subtraction :

http://www.mathsisfun.com/numbers/math-trainer-addition.html

http://www.mathsisfun.com/numbers/math-trainer-subtract.html

Again, 40 correct answers with 0 wrong in 2 minutes is a adequate score, and 60 right with 0 wrong is better.

**Graphing Calculator**

This is a link to a graphing calculator that is out on the web. While high school students typically have a hand held graphing calculator, there is a real advantage in having a display that is large and easy to read — especially when it comes to understanding graphing transformations and trig functions.

https://www.desmos.com/calculator

**Scientifc Calculator**

This web-based calculator is good for doing complex computations. It is easy to end up with incorrect calculations due to incorrect or inadequate use of parentheses. This calculator displays an “interpreted equation” that will make a student aware of errors that result from a lack of parentheses.

**Bedtime Math**

This is a great link that will let you sign up to have a daily math problem that you can work with your kids sent to your inbox. It was started by parents that wanted to create a fun bedtime math event to go along with bedtime stories and reading.

Each entry has problems for “Wee ones” (preschool), “Little kids” (elementary grades), “Big kids” (middle school age), and “The sky’s the limit” (older). Any parent should be able to engage with their children on the problems for the younger ages, and most parents will be able to help children figure out the more complicated problems as well. The learning in these exercises isn’t all about knowing the answer in advance. It probably more important to be willing to model thinking about how to solve the problem when you *don’t* immediately have the answer, or when your answer is wrong.

Here is a sample of their bedtime offerings :

http://bedtimemath.org/waterslide-for-ducks/

http://bedtimemath.org/tigers-as-pets/

http://bedtimemath.org/getting-your-kicks-from-the-world-cup/

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