# Fact Family in Math: What Is It and Why Does it Matter?

Young math students often struggle with math facts, which are strong indicators of future success in math. Math fact fluency is foundational to learning math and significantly predicts student math performance. They uniquely affect students’ standardized test scores and college-prep math and career coursework participation.

It may sound overwhelming that math facts have such tremendous impacts. There’s good news, though. Reflex prepares students for success with math fact fluency by using a math fact family approach.

### Breaking down the basics: What is a fact family in math?

Reflex uses a fact family approach for teaching new facts because it works. We can define a fact family in math as a group of related facts that use the same numbers. There are both addition and subtraction fact families and multiplication and division fact families.

**What is a fact family?** Take a look at these fact family examples of the addition/subtraction fact family for the numbers 3, 4, and 7, which consists of the following: 3 + 4 = 7, 4 + 3 = 7, 7 - 4 = 3, and 7 - 3 = 4. Fact families involving doubles, such as 2 + 2 = 4, have only two facts.

#### Understanding the intricacies of fact families

Learning related math facts (or fact families) together is ultimately easier and more efficient. Instead of teaching facts for addition and subtraction or multiplication and division separately, consider how they relate to one another. If 8 x 12 = 96, then it must also be true that 96 ÷ 8 = 12. This method provides a less intimidating way to think about learning facts. There are fewer fact families to learn as opposed to separate multiplication or division facts, for example. It also helps students understand the nature of inverse operations.

### The importance of fact families in math

Understanding fact families is vital in building mathematical proficiency and preparing students for more complex math. Strategies that provide number sense, such as introducing small sets of new facts with strategies like math fact families, are a part of fluency development.

Teaching fact families also helps students develop automaticity, a vital building block for future math success. Students who develop automaticity quickly and efficiently recall answers without conscious thought, which frees up their working memory. That makes it easier for students to focus on problem-solving and learning new concepts and skills.

While some math programs only work with memorization, Reflex understands that automaticity needs to pair with math fact fluency. A conceptual understanding of the operations serves as a prerequisite to building automaticity. Reflex helps students achieve math fact fluency and automaticity through a fact family approach with individualized coaching, practice, and assessment delivered via a fun, game-based approach.

#### How to teach the significance of fact families to students

With Reflex, teachers and students can access data and track their fact family progress. The Fact Detail report shows which facts a student knows and doesn’t know. This report is available in both a fact family pyramid and a traditional “fact grid” format. If you click a fact family, a window will pop up to show you exactly which facts are fluent, not fluent, or unassessed.

Students can also access this report by clicking their Student Avatar image and selecting the Report Icon (four white squares). They can use the information to set personal goals and build confidence.

“I have one student with a personal goal to grow her confidence in math. One way that she chose to do this was by becoming math fact fluent in Reflex. Now I see her apply those fact families as she works with fractions, and she beams as she completes her math assignments!”

- Reflex Teacher, International School of Panama, Panama

### Enhance math facts and fact family learning with Reflex

Throughout a student’s first few sessions, Reflex learns whether or not students have achieved fluency with specific facts and families. It uses this information when making instructional decisions to adapt for each student and continually monitors student progress. This means that students won’t spend time learning facts that they already know.

With Reflex, students build speed and accuracy with math fact families. Every student practices the right facts at the right time, and lessons are based on the retention of previous lessons. New facts are always presented as fact families, which helps students view them as one related set of numbers rather than four separate facts to learn.

Reflex delivers measurable results with a fact family approach that can significantly impact success with mathematical procedures and concepts at any grade level. Isn’t it time to try Reflex with your students?