What Is a Turnaround Fact in Math?

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A turnaround fact in math is an addition or multiplication fact for which, if the addends or factors are reversed, the answer is still the same. For example, two plus three equals five, and three plus two equals five. One fact is the turnaround fact of the other.

When students understand the concept of turnaround facts, they quickly expand the number of facts they know. When a student learns his multiplication facts for the fours, he not only learns that two times four equals eight but he also learns four times two equals eight.

Turnaround facts are another way of understanding the commutative properties of addition and multiplication, which state respectively that if a + b = c, then b + a = c, and if a x b = c, then b x a = c. Turnaround facts and the commutative property apply only to addition and multiplication. They do not work with subtraction or with division. For example, five minus two equals three, but two minus five does not equal three.

Students who learn the fact families are using the commutative property and turnaround math facts whether they know the terms or not. Likewise, those students who learn about the term turnaround math learn their fact families more easily.