How to Boost Fluency with these Super Fun Fact Fluency Math Games
Are you ready to boost fluency with these super fun fact fluency math games? Backstory… when my oldest child was in third grade (he’s now almost 30), his teacher, Mrs. Goudeau had this game called Mission Base Station. She would put the planets on her bulletin board, and then put little astronauts with each student’s name on the bulletin board as well. Then students would take timed tests for multiplication to move from planet to planet. When they got to the end, they got a prize. So… I figured I could adapt it to work in first grade with addition facts to 10. This became a yearly game that we would start in January and usually play until the end of the year.
Before 2020, we used our bulletin board, but I’m going to explain how the digital portion works since it’s actually easier to implement and it also allows for a little bit of privacy if you don’t want other students knowing where each student is. I’ll explain that later.
But first… Why is fluency so important?
Let me begin by saying… I truly believe in students using strategies to learn facts. That’s why we don’t start until January. We use Eureka Math, and the strategies taught are AMAZING! So I’m not talking about memorizing facts when I say build fluency. I’m saying that we need to build fluency with whatever strategy works for each child, but it needs to be a speedy strategy. I’d also like to add here that I started Mission Base Station way before we started using Eureka. Once we started Eureka, my students FLEW through this like never before! Happy teacher, right here!
Google Slides Mission Base Station
Please watch the video to see exactly what the Google Slides looks like. You can easily build your own as well, or you can purchase this set if you would rather spend your time doing something else!
So with the slides, you are going to need to:
- Add student names to each box
- Place an astronaut (page 3) on each slide representing each child
- Move the astronaut to Neptune (that’s the Zero Facts)
All of this needs to be done prior to introducing this to the students (unless you want them to pick out their astronaut and put it on the slide).
Fact Fluency Sheets
Here are the fact fluency assessment sheets that I use. There are two sets per page, and two pages per number. This gives us plenty of “versions” each day. So even though students might stay on 6 facts for several days, they may or may not get the same sheet each day.
Here’s what I do:
- Print the zero and one sheets enough for 2 days worth of practice
- The rest I print about 50 per sheet. This gives me enough to send home if students want to practice at home.
- I cut them in half and store them in folders (all the zeros together, etc.)
- When it’s Mission Base Station time, I just say whoever needs to work on ones, come up now. I hand them their sheet and they go back to their desk and turn it face down. We continue this until everyone has their sheet.
- Then I say READY… SET… Learn and they turn their sheet over and start writing answers.
- I time it with my phone – one minute (give or take a few seconds)
- Once the timer goes off, I have everyone put down their pencil and turn their papers over – if they don’t – they are “disqualified for the day)
- I walk around and quickly check – if they got them all correct, I send them to the board
Two ways to check:
I’ve always checked whole group, but I know that some might want to do this individually so that students don’t get embarrassed/upset.
- Have students go to the Activboard who got them all correct
- Click on their name
- Have them move their astronaut to the next number
- Have students go to your desk for you to check their sheet
- Then they can move their astronaut from your computer
- OR… you can share the slide with each student and they can do it on their own
Completing the challenge
As I stated earlier, we usually do this from January until the end of the year. Obviously every student will finish at different times, so for my early finishers, I gave them a choice. They could either travel back in time working on these worksheets or they could work on my color by code (see below). Every student always chose to go back in time because they were awarded another coupon once complete. You can check out the coupons here.
NEXT STEPS on building fact fluency math games:
Looking for something else to give your students once they master addition skills? Check out my color-by-number worksheets that students absolutely LOVE! Check out my blog post here!
I hope this helps someone out there boost fluency with these super fun fact fluency math games!