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Math Facts with Metronome Exercise

Many children have trouble processing quickly simple addition, simple subtraction, basic multiplication and basic division. This makes working with numbers very slow and arduous. Mastery of basic math facts help children to learn more complex math easier. This exercise is designed to improve the speed that children can process math facts. Once this exercise is mastered, the child is usually ready to advance in math education.

In working with children with math difficulties it is always good to rule out problems with developmental vision, anxiety, memory, rapid writing ability and processing speed. If the child has good developmental vision, does not freeze up during timed tests, and can process other information relatively quickly, then they will be ready for this exercise. If the child does not have good developmental vision, work on developmental vision before dong this exercise. If they have anxiety at timed tests, work on relaxation and address their negative thinking patterns about math. If the child is a slow writer, remediation will need to focus on increasing writing speed. If they have poor processing speed in general, then review the section on improving processing speed and master it, before doing this exercise.

It is also recommended that the participant do balance exercises while working on this exercise. After several trials of math facts with a metronome, add a balance component to the exercises. This should augment learning and help the child to remediate their math problems sooner.

This exercise requires the use of a metronome (actual or digital) and a piece of paper with math problems on it that are unsolved (usually child's school work). The Internet is a great source of printable math facts worksheets. This exercise can be very frustrating for poor math students. Try to push the child or encourage the child to go through the steps, but never to the point that the child starts crying. Use frequent praise and encouragement and celebrate personal advances. Do not do this exercise for more than 20 minutes a day.

Step by Step Instructions: Math Facts with Metronome.

1. Set the metronome for a comfortable rate for the participant (usually about 70 beats per minute). Some children will need a slower beat. It does not matter where the child starts in terms of beat, what is important is that it is the most comfortable beat for the child (not too fast and not too slow). You can also snap a beat with your fingers if you do not have a metronome and only if you have relatively good consistent rhythm.

2. Start simple (e.g., 1+1=2, 1+2=3, 1+3=4). Have the child sound out each letter and operation symbol to the beat of the metronome. The word is can be substituted for equal. Keep doing this until the child is good at sounding out each symbol or number with the beat.

3. Continue this process by increasing the difficulty of the numbers. There is no need to go over 10 unless the school is doing that as well. This technique is useful for numbers 0 through 10.

4. Over time, increase the rate of speed of the metronome (working towards 120 beats per minute).

5. Mastery is when the child can say the answer to addition problems without missing a beat. They can do one problem after another without missing a beat of 120 beats per minute.

6. When addition is mastered, move to subtraction, then multiplication and then division if that is what has been taught in school. The multiplication table exercise may need to be mastered first before moving on to multiplication and division.

Exercise: Math Facts with Metronome Exercise.

Time: Time: about 10 to 20 minutes depending on how on how frustrating it is for the child that day.

Recommended Frequency: once a day, 5 or 6 days per week until Step 6 has been achieved

Materials Needed. Metronome (actual or digital), a piece of paper with math facts that are unsolved on them.

Pretest Assessment: participant with good developmental vision, adequate fine motor movement and handwritting skills and can identify quickly numbers and math symbols is unable to do math facts quickly.

Mastery. participant can quickly say any six math facts (assigned randomly) without missing a beat set at 120 beats per minute or write the answers at 70 beats per minute.

Additional comments: This exercise focused on verbal responses and not written responses. The exercise could be completed for written responses. The only adjustment would be to set the metronome for a slower beat to accommodate a written response. Verbal responses should be mastered before attempting to work on written responses. When adding balance, the type of balance exercise is not important. There are many balance exercises listed in our balance section. It can be as simple as standing on one foot or standing on a balance board, or wobble board.

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