Fact families are a great visual for helping children see the connection between addition and subtraction.
Grab your free set of write and wipe cards below and add them to your math centers or morning work!
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Prepping this math center took very little time!
I simply printed out the fact family cards onto cardstock for durability, then laminated and cut them apart.
Lastly, I printed off enough recording sheets for each of my students plus a few extras for kids who would want to practice again.
Fact Family Write and Wipe
To introduce this activity to my students, I started by gathering one of my math small groups.
I had everyone seated at our teacher table. I passed out dry erase markers and asked my kiddos to solve the problem 3 + 4 = ___ on the Wall Pops we have stuck onto the table (a fun alternative to traditional whiteboards).
My students easily produced the correct answer and we repeated aloud together that three plus four really did equal seven– a no brainer!
We didn’t erase our work, but added on 4 + 3 = ___ and solved it in a similar way. Again, this was easy for my students and they were ready for more of a challenge.
Next, we put 7 – 4 = ___ onto our growing list of math facts and, although a few students needed to use their fingers for this one, it was still a complete review.
Before I could even say what I wanted my students to do next, they already started jumping in saying “Seven minus three equals four is next, right?”
They were right on the money, so we finished up our complete set of math facts.
Fact Family Houses
Then, I asked my students what they noticed about these four problems. I heard “they are flip flopped” from one student. “They use the same numbers” was what another student said.
This was exactly what I was looking for. I explained to my kiddos that since these three numbers had relationships with each other, we could call them a fact family.
I passed out a fact family write and wipe card to each kid and instructed them to write in the four math facts that completed the fact family shown at the top.
I made it a point to show them that the two bottom numbers added up to the top number (which is bigger in size to help with this idea visually). This was so that they didn’t add 5 + 11 = 6, for example.
They got to work. I checked in with each of the students in my group to have them explain to me what they were doing.
As students finished, I gave them a second write and wipe card. They also had the option to trade with someone at their table.
I let them work for about 7 minutes and then I handed out the recording sheet.
I told my students they could record some of the fact families they had just worked on, or they could come up with their own.
Many students wanted to try out their own, but I was also okay with them using the fact families provided. The goal of this mini lesson was for them to understand the relationships of the numbers. So, either way was good with me!
Finally, my students colored in the little houses. This gave me an opportunity to double check their work and resolve any questions.