Dear 5th Grade Families,
Many parents have been asking about what they can do to make sure their children are mastering fifth-grade math skills, and are prepared to move on to sixth grade.
The best piece of advice I always tell students and parents is:
Practice, Practice, Practice!
First and foremost, help your child practice their math fluency, or math facts. Fifth-grade students must be able to quickly add, subtract, multiply and divide in order to move on to the higher-level math that they will be introduced to this year.
In fifth grade, we need to move quickly into multi digit multiplication and division. Then spend a large chunk of time on fractions. Having the basic facts memorized will make it possible for students to be successful with these more advanced math processes. Not having the basic facts memorized will make learning these concepts very difficult.
Don’t be afraid of your child’s fifth-grade math homework! You can help!
Here are a few small tips to show you how you can help:
1.) Spend just a few minutes each day or a few days each week practicing, rather than long practice sessions. Once the math becomes frustrating for your child, they will quickly lose motivation and associate homework time as something they do not want to do.
2.) Have fun with math! Play games with the facts. Try to find ways to make practice fun, including silly rhymes, songs, or memory tricks.
3.) Use time that is usually “wasted” (waiting in line, sitting in traffic) to drill facts. I always tell kids- when mom or dad is stirring the spaghetti sauce, or driving to the grocery store, have them ask you your multiplication facts! Or, mute the TV on commercials and study flashcards then!
4.) Re-write practice problems from previous homework pages, by substituting in different or “friendly” numbers. Or, ask me for more homework practice pages. I would love to send home resources!
5.) There are great websites out there to help practice math skills. A fabulous website is www.aaamath.com. This website is a FREE resource to practice multiplication facts, division, rounding, etc! Also there is www.coolmath4kids.com, which has full lessons, flashcards, practice problems, games and puzzles.
6.) The student iPads have great math apps that will be useful to practice math facts and other skills learned in class.
If you have questions, please feel free to contact me at or you can reach me at 507-346-7276 Ext. 2112
I’m looking forward to mastering these next units with wonderful mathematicians!
Family Math Games:
Looking for ways to practice math with your child at home? Here are some fun games for you to play together! All you need is a deck of cards or a pair of dice.
Concentration (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division)
The object of the game is to find pairs of matching cards among an array of face down cards. Help your child write addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division facts on one set of index cards, and the answers on another set. Shuffle the cards and lay them out face down. The first player turns over two cards. If they match, the player keeps the two cards and takes another turn. The next player continues by trying to find two matching cards. When all cards have been collected, the player with the most pairs wins.
Dice Games (addition)
You will need 2, 3, or 4 dice and one score sheet. Tally to so many rolls or to a preset score such as 50 or 100 points.
Vary it by adding the sums of the dice together, and the greatest or least score wins!
Vary it again by rolling 3 colored dice and 1 white die. Subtract the number on the white die from the sum of the colored dice, and the greatest sum wins.
Go Fish (addition)
Prepare flash cards from 0-10 (3 sets of each number). Play "Go Fish" to add numbers up to 10. (Ex: Sally has the number 4, so she asks her mother for the number 6 because 4+6=10.)
Card Games (addition)
War: Divide the deck of cards evenly. Each player will put out two cards and add them together. Whoever has the highest total will take all cards. The object is to take the whole deck.
Players take turns rolling two dice. A player may roll the dice as many times as he/she wants, mentally keeping a total of the sums that come up. When the player stops rolling, he/she records the total, and adds it to the scores from previous rounds. BUT if a one is rolled, the player scores a 0 for that round, and it's the next player's turn.
Race for $1.00 (money addition)
You need 30 pennies, 10 nickels, 20 dimes, 1 quarter, a dollar, 2 dice, and a partner.
Take turns. On your turn, roll the dice. The sum tells how many pennies to take. When you have 5 pennies, trade for a nickel. When you have 2 nickels, trade for a dime. When you have 2 dimes and one nickel, trade for a quarter. The first player to reach $1.00 is the winner.
Guess My Number (number logic)
You need: paper, pencil, partner
Player one picks a number from 0-99 and writes it down. Player two makes a guess and writes it down. Player one gives a clue: "Your guess is greater than my number" or "Your guess is less than my number". Continue playing until player two guesses player one's number. Switch jobs and play again.
The 1 to 10 Game (addition)
You need: 2 dice, 1 deck of cards, and a partner
Use only the ace, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 cards.
One of you takes the red cards, one of you takes the black cards. Take turns. On your turn, roll the dice and figure out the sum. Remove enough cards from your hand to add up to that sum. For example, if you roll a 5 and a 3, you can make 8 in many ways (5+3, 4+4, 4+2+2, 8, etc...). If you can't make the sum with the cards in your hand, roll again. If you can't make a sum after three rolls, you lose the game. You win if your partner can't make a number in three rolls or if you use up all of your cards.
Number Family Rummy (fact families)
Use a deck of 40 cards: Four suits of ace through ten. The goal is to make families of three cards that are related by addition or subtraction. For example: 5, 5, and 10 are a family because 5+5=10, and 10-5=5. 6, 3, and 9 are a family because 6+3=9, 9-6=3, and 9-3=6.
Shuffle the deck and deal 6 cards to each player. Place the remaining cards face down in a pile. If you have any families of cards, place them aside. If you don't have any families, you may draw one from the pile and discard one of your own. You may also discard the one that you picked up, if you don't want it. The first player to get rid of all 6 cards (2 fact families) is the winner. Remember that the ace equals one.
Grab Bag Subtraction (subtraction)
Choose a number of things to work with, and put that many objects into a bag. You can use crayons, coins, beans, buttons, etc...) Grab a handful of the items and count them. Use subtraction to figure out how many items are now left in the bag. So if you put 100 items in the bag and pulled out 20, then you would write 100-20=80. Let your partner have a turn, and whoever leaves the least amount in the bag is the winner.
Lineup (number order, multiples)
Prepare number cards from 0-50. If more than two players are going to play, you might want to prepare two decks. Shuffle the cards and deal 8 to each player. Players place their cards face up in a horizontal line in front of them in the same order in which they are received. Players may not move their cards around. The object of the game is to be first to have your cards in the right sequential order from smallest to largest. A player does this by taking a card on each turn from the top of the undelt deck, and using it to replace any of the cards in his lineup. He discards the card that is replaced. Whenever a player's lineup of numbers is in the correct order from smallest to largest, he calls out LINEUP and wins the game.
You can vary this game by using multiples of numbers. You still have 8 cards, but are trying to get multiples in order from smallest to largest. So you can do multiples of 2 (2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16) or multiples of 3 (3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 24). You can even have numbers such as 12, 16, 20, 24, 28, 32, 36, 40. Those are multiples of 4, but they don't necessarily have to start with the number 4. They are however, still in order from smallest to largest.
Card Capture (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division)
Use a set of fact flashcards. Divide the cards equally between the two players. One player attacks, while the other player defends. The defending player shows his cards (problem side up) one at a time to the attacking player. If the attacking player says the right answer, he captures the card and adds it to his own. He can continue capturing cards until he answers incorrectly. When this happens, the defending player becomes the attacker, and gets his chance at capturing the cards. This continues with cards being captured back and forth until one player winds up with all of the cards, or has the most cards when time is called. You can even set the rules to the first player to capture 20 cards, or any number you'd like.
Addition and Subtraction Turnover (addition and subtraction)
Each player is given 11 cards numbered 0-10. These are placed face up in a row. Players roll two dice on a turn and may choose to add or subtract the two numbers shows on the dice. If the resulting sum or difference equals one of the number cards still face up, the player can turn that card face down. Next player then takes a turn. This continues until one of the players wins by turning all 11 of his cards face down.
Subtraction Pig (subtraction)
Two or more players start out with 100 points each. Players in turn roll two dice and subtract that number from their points. A player on a turn continues rolling the dice and subtracting the resulting number from his remaining points until a 1 appears on any dice rolled. That player's turn ends, and the next player takes a turn. When a player has lost all of his points, he is out of the game. The last player in the game, is the winner.
What's Your Favorite Number? (Challenging multiplication)
Ask someone his/her favorite number between 1 and 9. Then multiply the favorite number by 9. Multiply that by 12345679 and you know what? Your friend will be surprised when he sees you writing his favorite digit over and over again in the answer. That is, if you multiply correctly!
Slot Card Races (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division)
Cut an open slot in a card or blank piece of paper. The slot needs to be large enough to see only one math problem or fact at a time written in a column on another piece of paper. The problems should be such that the player can work the answers out in his/her head. Each player in turn tries to work the problems as fast as he can while being timed. The card is slid down from one problem to the next as he correctly answers each one. If a problem is answered incorrectly, the leader moves the card back one problem. Each player's time is written down. Players may re-challenge each other. A variation would be to move the card at a certain speed for all players to see how many problems they can do accurately at that
speed before making a mistake.
Multiplication Trick (Multiplication)
Here is a quick way to multiply a two digit number by 11. Write the number to be multiplied, but leave a space in between. Add the two digits, and write the sum in that place. You have your answer.
Example: If you wanted to multiply 11x36, write the 3 and the 6 with a space in the middle. 3+6=9, so write a 9 in that middle space. Your answer is 396.