Strategies for teaching fact families to first graders includes using props like crackers, conducting the lesson in a group, using volunteers and asking students to compare their answers. This method is suited to teach fact families to students ranging from preschool age to second grade.
Begin by asking students to name two numbers that are each less than 10. Have a volunteer represent these numbers with a corresponding number of fish crackers on two separate plates. Ask the volunteer to use these two numbers to create as many addition and subtraction problems as possible. For instance, both one plus nine and nine plus are valid addition sentences.
Next, name a numerical difference such as four, and have each student use two sets of crackers to create one set of numbers that has four more crackers than the other set. This provides many different answers based on the number the student started with.
After illustrating multiple examples using other differences, have students create a plate with six crackers and a plate with two crackers. Ask students to create different addition and subtraction sentences using these two numbers. Next, ask students to identify the addends, sum and difference of the equations they created. Ask them which subtraction sentences can be created using the other addend and the sum, and end the verbal lesson by explaining this set of equations is known as a fact family.
Supplement the lesson with a fact families worksheet that allows students to independently practice what they learned.