Maths – 8 fact families!

Good evening Year 1!

I want to start by saying how proud I was of the class today. I feel like that the children have come into the last week of term with the same readiness to learn and enthusiasm as the first week! All of them demonstrated learning today which is fantastic to see. Well done 1JM!

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These past two Maths lessons you may or may not have heard from your children that we have been looking at the tricky concept of 8 fact families. This is when pupils are able to extract 8 facts from a simple Maths calculation where two different parts come together to form a whole. Here is an example:

4 + 3 = 7 7 – 4 = 3
3 + 4 = 7 7 – 3 = 4
7 = 4 + 3 3 = 7 – 4
7 = 3 + 4 4 = 7 – 3

Most of the class have reached the point where they can find 4 fact families. Once they know that 4 + 3 = 7, then they know that they can swap the parts (this they can do because addition is commutative) and make 3 + 4 = 7. Next, they know that in a number sentence you are able to swap the answer (which is the whole in this scenario) to the beginning of the calculation. This would mean that 3 + 4 = 7 becomes 7 = 3 + 4. Finally, to find the 4th addition fact they will know that they can swap the parts of the number sentence again with the answer (whole) at the beginning. This makes the 7 = 4 + 3.

Some of the class will be able to find the first two subtraction facts. This is done by taking a part each time from the whole to find the remaining part. The whole is the greatest number and we always take away from the whole and not the part when finding our 8 fact families. Doing this, we can find 7 – 4 = 3 and 7 – 3 = 4.

The last two facts are the hardest that everyone in the class is finding it most difficult. What we need to know is that the answer (in this case this is the part remaining after the other part has been taken from the whole) can go at the front of the number sentence. We need to be careful when doing this though that we do not swap the order of the numbers in the number sentence apart from putting the answer at the front! We must always subtract from the whole when finding 8 fact families and not from a part. By putting the answers to the first two subtraction facts at the beginning of the number sentence , we can find the last two facts: 3 = 7 – 4 and 4 = 7 – 3.

Please don’t treat this as mandatory extra work for the class to complete, it is not meant as such. It is purely a heads up towards a gap in the children’s understanding as they begin a new module next term that we will be addressing in class anyway. I’m posting this as a tool to enable discussion at home which might be that extra bit of understanding that allows the children to do these easily. Finding 8 fact families is important because it teaches children the relationship between parts of a calculation and the key language and concepts, such as inverse, that will develop throughout their school life.

I hope everyone is looking forward to the Christmas break! We are off timetable Thursday and Friday for parties and movies. I am planning on making the afternoons fairly relaxed until then.

Best,

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Mr Markham

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