Get Real Math Mastery of Basic Skills While Building a Mind for Algebra
Welcome to the Math Skills Worksheet I created for my kids. This will help your children excel at all basic math functions. To truly excel at math, basic functions must become automatic so the slower conscious thinking gives way to much faster unconscious processing and automaticity takes over. In short, this is an algebra trainer, and mastery tool.
When I was a child, I enjoyed timed math tests. We’d get a sheet of paper with 60 problems and see how many we could complete in 60 seconds. The goal was to finish all 60. I remember feeling awesome the first time I did that. The problems on this program are slightly more complex and require more thought. It isn’t expected that someone complete these sets of 50 problems in under a minute but if that was possible, that would be super awesome. 🙂
Double the Fun
So what is this? It’s a worksheet generator where you are presented with a few columns. Two random numbers within a range you specify (like 0 to 5, or 0 to 12, or -12 to 12) are added and multiplied. The person working the problem out must identify the two numbers.
The one working the problem then has to sort these out mentally. For example, two numbers that add to 10 AND multiply to 25 are 5 and 5. Two numbers that add to 8 and multiply to 15 are 5 and 3, and so on. It’s pretty simple but it really gets the brain working. When my son started doing these a few weeks ago, it took him over 15 minutes to complete a sheet. I wasn’t trying to frustrate him so in the beginning he just worked as many problems as he could for 15 minutes and stopped. Pretty soon he was under 15 minutes to complete the whole sheet and then we started timing him. His scores came down lower and lower with each succeeding sheet (and an occasional increase). Eventually he got under 3 minutes for 50 problems and that was good enough for me to move on.
Introducing: negative numbers…
We talked about the number line and how 1 times any number is itself, so negative 1 times a number is the opposite sign of that number. We discussed this for a bit and the idea that two negatives multiplied times each other will make a positive so you can tell by looking at the multiplication column if both numbers are the same sign and then tell by looking in the addition column if both numbers are positive or negative. Then he started trying out the new worksheet.
For example, two numbers that add to -17 and multiply to 60 are -12 and -5. Two numbers that add to 0 but multiply to -9 are 3 and -3, and so on.
When my son started this sheet, he could only complete a few problems in 10-15 minutes. It was new thinking. We were patient and just let him build his skills. He worked at it and is now to the point of completing 50 of these problems in 6 minutes. The goal is 3 minutes again (and there’s always a prize involved). This one will cost me so please buy a copy of this worksheet! 🙂
To get children started, you can select a range on one of the spreadsheet tabs for the maximum absolute value used on a worksheet.
The worksheet then adjusts the page title and problems to match your selection. For example, if I input 5, you’ll see:
Start with seeing how many problems they can complete in 5 or 10 minutes. Each day they should get a little better and improve their ability to focus. Help them get used to thinking about combinations that add or multiple to a number. For example, what are all the combinations that add to 10, or numbers that multiply evenly into 24. Maybe one sheet takes a few days of work to finish.
Once they can do the entire sheet without frustration, start timing them and offer a prize when they get under a certain amount of time for completing the sheet. Once they get that prize, offer another prize at a lower figure. Once your child gets down to about 3 minutes with positives, introduce negatives and the time to complete a sheet will reset and probably be more than 15 minutes if they are just learning about negative numbers. Repeat the process of getting them used to it and then build up to see how many they can do in 10 minutes, then once they can complete the sheet time them to get faster.
I also built sheets with answers which are especially helpful for getting started. The column where it says “FOLD BACK” is where you fold back the answer columns A and B so they aren’t visible when doing the worksheet. When they are done they can unfold it to check their answers and see how they did.
Start with positives with answers till they master the math and then you can print without the answer sheets. Then do negatives with answers till they master the math and then you can print sheets without answers (not printing answers lets you print 2 worksheets per page and you could even flip the paper over and use the back side).
Once a child gets these problems down to a low time, they will have transferred a significant load of mental work into their subconscious and will be way ahead of peers that still have to mentally process problems in their conscious mind.
License agreement: Purchase of this spreadsheet allows you to print as many physical paper worksheets as you want for your own children or others. You are not permitted to print pdf copies to distribute to others. This is a personal copy of the math worksheet. Please refer others to the website address above to purchase their own copy. Simple honesty contract.