Addition Fact Fluency Strategies

The best order for teaching addition fact strategies.

Starting the Year with Addition Fact Fluency Strategies

At the beginning of the year, I spend the bulk of my 2nd grade math time doing two things: 1.) Setting up math rotations and 2.) Working on addition fact fluency strategies to build automaticity.

I like to focus on addition fact fluency strategies because it helps me get a sense of where each of my students is as a mathematician. Knowing their basic addition facts will help them solve problems tremendously!

Before I begin, let me set the record straight: I do not use timed math fact tests to build automaticity. They cause unnecessary anxiety that students do not need!

The Addition Fact Fluency Strategies I Teach

While there are many addition fact fluency strategies, the three I focus on are:

  • Doubles & Doubles Plus One
  • Ways to Make 10
  • Making a 10 to Add 8 & 9

These three strategies cover a huge majority of the basic facts within 20!

Doubles & Doubles Plus One

First, I teach the addition fact fluency strategy doubles & doubles plus one (and doubles minus one) strategy. I try to incorporate lots of hands on & concrete objects to help them. We also love to listen and sing along to this Doubles song by Harry Kindergarten Music!

Once students have mastered doubles facts, then I move on to doubles plus/minus one. I ask them questions like, “If we know 4 + 4 is 8, then who can tell me what 4 + 5 would be?” Hands usually shoot up as they realize that’s just ONE more! And now we’ve officially introduced doubles plus one.

I let my students help me create a chart of the other doubles plus one facts. This is also the perfect time to pull out objects and manipulatives to make this strategy concrete, including a rekenrek!

Ways to Make 10

Next, we move on to the different ways to make 10. These facts usually go pretty quickly!

Plus, if you liked the Doubles song I told you about earlier, you’ll really love the song “What Makes Ten?” on YouTube! Be warned: it WILL get stuck in your head and you’ll be singing it as you drive home, but it’s worth it!

Making 10 to Add 8 & 9

Use double ten frames to show the making 10 to add strategy.

Finally, the last strategy I focus on is making a ten. At first, this strategy can be tricky to understand, so I ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS use ten frames and manipulatives to teach this strategy! I begin by orally asking students if they can solve 10 + 2, 10 + 3, 10 + 8, etc. They always eagerly shout the answers. Then I tell them that I have a secret trick to turn some of difficult math facts into facts with a ten!

In the graphic on the right, I show my students 9 + 4. I make 9 with the red counters in the top ten frame, and I make 4 with yellow counters in the bottom ten frame. Then, I show students how we can “make a ten” fact by moving one of the yellow counters to the top ten frame. Now we’ve made the problem 10 + 3, which they can quickly solve.

We use these double ten frames over and over. Do not get rid of the concrete too quickly!

Fact fluency strategies for making 10 to Add 8 & 9 math games and activities
Making 10 to Add Games & Activities

Reinforcing Strategies With Games

To reinforce and practice these three addition fact fluency strategies, we use tons of board games and matching activities. Once students know how to play all of the games, we start Fact Fluency Fridays, which is just a fun way of saying we pull these games out during Friday morning arrival time and/or during a flexible 10-15 minute block of time on Fridays.

If you need any quick games and matching activities to work on these addition fact fluency strategies, I’ve got you covered right here!

Pin These Ideas for Later!

Doubles and doubles plus one centers
Ways to make ten games and activities
Fact fluency strategies for making ten to add 8 & 9 games

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