Developing “automaticity” with multiplication and division facts (being able to access these facts quickly from memory)
is the most valuable math tool students acquire in the elementary grades. It is a vital skill for success with fractions, ratios, proportions, factoring polynomials…and pretty much all higher math operations. The problem is, for many students, this automaticity is elusive, even with daily, grueling flash card drills and timed tests.
I use a powerful method developed by David Berg of the Making Math Real Institute called “9 Lines Fact Acquisition and Application Strategy” or, just “9 Lines” for short. This method teaches a child to build visual files of facts and be able to flip through those files mentally to find not only what the answer to a given multiplication fact is, but what the greatest common denominator or least common multiple is between two numbers and how many times 632 can be divided by 78…all mentally…no fingers…no charts…no lists of multiples in the margin of his or her math paper!
In the past, I have used flash card drills and games, skip counting recitation, songs, stories, finger-counting strategies, and as a final concession, calculators, to help students function with math facts. All of the above are inefficient at best. Utilizing songs or stories or calculators interrupts the flow of thought when solving problems and causes the brain to lose its path and have to start the chain of thought all over again once the fact has been figured out. It makes math exhausting and confusing, and leaves little brain energy for understanding more complicated concepts.
“9 Lines” is not something you can figure out how to teach from watching a You Tube video or hearing about it from a friend. I have had hours of training from David Berg himself so I can teach and utilize this strategy with integrity, so students will experience success, and not further frustration. I am so excited to have this tool to help students not just memorize their facts, but become so fluent that they can calculate things like greatest common factors and least common multiples mentally. Math homework no longer needs to take hours and hours…get ready for having FUN solving problems and leaving the tedium of calculation behind!