Works for Me Wednesday: Math Shark

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I recently read a friend’s blog about something she was using to practice math facts with her kids. It reminded me of something we already have that has been sitting around gathering dust – Math Shark!

Math Shark’s website page says that it, “plays like a video game and teaches like electronic flash cards..”. While that’s true, I, in a period of insanity, thought that, if I just left Math Shark lying around in plain sight, the kids would pick it up, of their own free will, and, you know, “play math.”

I’ve had it a couple of years and that hasn’t happened yet. I’ve always leaned toward the school of thought that, if I provided the kids a multiplication facts table, eventually, through daily use, those facts would sink in. While I do believe that, I also totally see Shez’s point about kids being “hamstrung” by not knowing the basic facts quickly. I already see that hindrance slowing down and frustrating my kids.

So, last week, I told the kids that they had to start drilling their facts with Math Shark (it does addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, decimals and percentages — right now we’re focusing on multiplication) every day. The goal is to get each set of the multiplications tables done in around 20 seconds or less. Once they get a set (i.e. the 3’s or the 4’s), down, they move on to another set, marking the mastered set on a graph. Once they’ve mastered 1-12, they earn a $10 gift card to their favorite store.

The funny thing is, while they wouldn’t pick up Math Shark voluntarily, they really don’t mind doing it. They have actually been having fun trying to see how fast they can complete a set and trying to beat their own lowest time. One thing’s for sure — Math Shark is a lot more fun than flash cards.

Visit Kristin at We Are THAT Family for more Works for Me Wednesday tips.

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  1. I’d love to grab one of those for our 12 year old daughter – she still has troubles with the times tables.. she knows HOW and all, she just can’t get them memorized. But ouch, 50 bucks? Maybe we’ll stick to online games LOL … it looks pretty awesome though!

  2. We love the Math Shark. We keep ours in the car. It’s amusing to watch my kids (ages 6 and 8) fight over who gets to do the Math Shark…


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