Expediency in Computational Mathematics

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Dice is one of the most well known math manipulatives around.  

I have a few different versions of dice.  I have foam dice.  I have regular white and black dice.  I have home made dice.    The sticker on the homemade dice is perfect for younger kids because you can make that sticker represent any number you wish.  If you want your child to practice their 9's, the sticker becomes a 9.  

9+3=12
9 X 3 = 27

9 divided by 3 = 3

And I have a really cool dice-within-a-dice


It may be hard to see the dots on top in this photo, but there are 2.  

3 + 2 = 5
3 X 2 = 6
3 divided by 2 = 1 with a remainder of 1

My 7-year-old knows how to add and subtract very well, but she needs help making those answers more automatic. Recently she did very well on a state math test, but scored low because it took her too long. My goal is to get her math efficiency to increase.    

Dice is the quickest, easiest way to practice simple math operations.  The repetition, the ease of manipulating the problems, the toteablily of dice in general (yes, I did just make up a word, I believe).

Toteability: noun:
1. Being able to carry with ease; the dice fit into the purse and was easy for me to carry;
2. the dice had a toteability rating of 9.5%;   
3. being able to tote the dice easily.  

It's easy to make up words.  Just make sure it looks like it came from a real dictionary, and it looks legit.  

By the way, did you know that the word "dictionary" can be found in the dictionary?  

Yep, lots of learning happening here today, folks!  

Back to our regular programming (please excuse myself):

Here is how I am going to help my daughter become more expedient with her math facts:

1.  First, I'll give her two dice and a timer.
2.  Tell her whether she will be adding or subtracting.
3.  Then, set the timer to 5 minutes.
3.  Place a tally mark for whichever problems she answers correctly.
4.  Celebrate correct answers by giving her praise and give her 5 extra minutes of computer time every time she scores better than the last.  You can vary the reward to match your child's interests and motivations.  
5.  Make this a regular part of her school schedule.

This is a great method for helping children retain math fact skills over the Summer.  

It is also ideal for homeschool families because you can pair up multi-aged children and ask them to keep score for each other, varying the math operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division by child. 

It is a great totable :o)  math game for the doctor's office, the DMV or the airport, for example.  

I am going to have my children do this several times during the summer and I will check back with you in the fall to let you know if Math scores have risen at all!  

Stay tuned...