As an elementary and middle school educator for nearly 25 years, I came across scores of students who truly struggled with grade level concepts and age appropriate math calculations. My experiences as a classroom teacher, tutor, and interventionist, working with at risk children led me to one conclusion.
The common thread amongst all struggling math students was a lack of proficiency and fluency in their basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts.
Traditional methods to improve those absent math skills involved drill sheets or flashcards. Drill sheets with dozens of problems were assigned to struggling students. These sheets offered no immediate feedback for children and were monotonous and boring. Flashcards were problematic. Thick stacks of cards were easily dropped, lost, mixed up or reversed.
Early in my career I came across a simple, yet effective hand held manipulative made of wooden sticks and tape. I used these tools with struggling students for many years in my classroom.
After retiring from teaching in June of 2014, I continued to volunteer at my elementary school, working with at risk students. In early 2016, I committed to improving the hand held math tool and built a curriculum around it. I wanted to help a greater number of students than I could personally reach. I read numerous research studies dealing with math fact fluency and automaticity. All the research validated my years of observations while working with struggling students.
Working with a team, we improved upon the math tools and placed 500 of them in numerous elementary schools for data collection and teacher, parent, and student feedback.
MathSTIX was born and launched in 2017 to help teachers and parents assist children on their journey to math fact fluency and success!
Principals’ and Educators’ Message
Multiple research studies have demonstrated the relationship between students’ basic math fact fluency and student success. Furthermore, the data indicates that the ability to recall and retrieve basic math facts fluently as necessary to obtain and understand higher-order math skills (Whitehurst, 2003). Basic math facts must be developed and over-learned to the point they are automatic (automaticity) (Whitehurst, 2003). Students’ inability to fluently retrieve basic math facts can impede student participation in math discussions, mathematical problem solving, and performance on math achievement tests.
- MathSTIX, a durable, inexpensive, researched based and data driven manipulative, that has been classroom tested and shown to:
- increase student basic math fact fluency and retrieval (automaticity)
- build student confidence and self esteem
- address needs of kinesthetic, visual, and tactile learners
- be utilized in small intervention or learning groups
- reinforce multiplication and division facts
- practice equivalent fractions
- reinforce reduced or simplified version of fractions
- promote understanding of LCM and LCD
- eliminate or extinguish finger counting
- increase subtraction and addition fact fluency