Multisensory lessons for Math Education and learning Fact Families

Fact families are numbers that are related. For example: 3, 5, and 8 form a fact family because they are related through addition and subtraction. There are four sentences or "facts" that go with these related numbers: 3+5=8; 5+3=8; 8-3=5; 8-5=3

Here are some ideas for learning addition fact families with games and manipulatives.   
Specific fact family "partners". I like to work with all the fact families of one sum at one time. ( E.g. all the fact families with 3 as a sum are these: 0+3=3, 1+2=3, 2+1=3, 3+0=3, 3-0=3, 3-1=2, 3-2=1)
Here are games that focus on the pairs of numbers that equal one constant sum: 
  • 0 through 12 fact families - Domino parking lot
  • 10 fact families - block ten solitaire or tens solitaire (or solitaire pyramid modified where cards equal ten instead of thirteen. All face cards equal ten.)
  • 12 fact families - Dividing two different types of objects in different ways into the spaces in a dozen-sized egg carton, e.g. 2 candy corn + 10 jelly beans = full carton (12)
  • 13 fact families - solitaire pyramid 
  • 14 fact families - re-arranging balls (can be used for fact families of any sum)
  • 5 to 18 fact families - uses "partner pair" tubs
Personal note of caution: I would avoid using many of the fact "family" descriptions suggested. Many of the explanations I have seen describe the fact families as having a daddy (big number), mother (medium number) and baby (small number) with the daddy always going first or last in the equation to protect the family. This would seem to me to be a potentially emotionally charged situation and learning barrier for children whose family does not fit this pattern. Children of single parents, living with grandparents or guardians, with gay or lesbian parents, children with mother and disabled father, etc.


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