When it comes to teaching the relationship between number facts, many educators find themselves scratching their heads. How do we make students understand that addition and subtraction are related? And that multiplication and division are also related? One way to help students see this connection is by using fact family triangles. In this blog post, we will discuss what fact family triangles are and how they can make teaching the relationships between number facts easier for students.
Are you interested in grabbing our FREE fact family worksheet? Use this open-ended worksheet along with our 3 for Free posters to highlight the connection between number facts. Learn more about 3 for Free and teach your students to work smarter, not harder!
Using fact family triangles are one of my favourite ways to teach the connection between number facts with students. With the visual representation of 3 numbers, fact family triangles are a great way to help students learn and practise basic addition and subtraction facts (and multiplication and division). They are easy to set up, and kids love them!
Read more about Multiplication and Division Fact Families.
What are Fact Family Triangles?
Fact family triangles are a visual way to represent relationships between numbers. They can be used to help students learn and practise basic addition and subtraction facts. For example, the triangle below shows the fact family for the numbers 3, 7, and 10.
As you can see, the triangle is made up of three numbers. The two outer numbers are the addends, and the middle number (the number at the top) is the sum. The triangle also shows that 7 minus 3 equals 4, and 10 minus 7 equals 3.
Why Use Fact Family Triangles?
Fact family triangles are a great tool for helping students understand addition and subtraction concepts. They can be used to introduce new facts, or to review facts that have already been learned.
Fact family triangles are also a helpful way to visualize the commutative property of addition. This is when the order of the addends does not change the sum. For example, in the triangle above, 3 plus 7 equals 10, and 7 plus 3 also equals 10.
Finally, fact family triangles can be a fun and engaging way for students to practice their addition and subtraction facts. They can be used in whole-class, small-group, or individual settings.
Getting Started with Fact Family Triangles
If you’re ready to start using fact family triangles in your classroom, there are a few things you’ll need. First, you’ll need a set of number cards, like the ones pictured below. You can also use a deck of playing cards if you don’t have number cards.
To make your own number cards, simply write the numbers 1-9 on index cards or pieces of paper.
Once you have your materials, you’re ready to get started! Begin by writing one of the numbers from your number cards on the whiteboard. Then, have students take turns choosing another number from their card and adding it to the number on the board. Write the sum at the top of the triangle.
Next, have students choose another number from their card and subtract it from the sum. Write the answer in the bottom left corner of the triangle. Finally, have students subtract the first number they chose from the second number they chose. Write this answer in the bottom right corner of the triangle.
You can continue adding numbers to the triangle until all the spaces are filled. You can also start with a different number each time, or have students make their own triangles.
Once students are ready for some independent practise, using my fact family triangle resource will save you time and allow you to work with the students who require additional consolidation. Students simply choose a card, take it back to their table, write the four sums down that they can create using the numbers and then switch with a friend.
Tips for Using Fact Family Triangles
Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of using fact family triangles in your classroom:
Encourage students to say the equation aloud as they write it in the triangle. For example, “7 plus 3 equals 10.” This will help them to better understand the concept.
Model making your own triangle on the board before having students make their own. This will help them to understand the process.
Encourage students to use different addition and subtraction strategies as they fill in the triangle. For example, they may choose to use mental math, counting on, counting back, number bonds, or place value charts.
Have students share their triangles with a partner or small group. They can explain how they arrived at their answers, and discuss any strategies they used.
Differentiate the activity by providing different levels of number cards. For example, you could provide a set of 1-9 cards for some students, and a set of 1-12 cards for others.
Encourage students to use their triangles to solve word problems. For example, they could write a word problem for the triangle 7-3=4.
Finally, don’t forget to have fun! Fact family triangles are a great way to review addition and subtraction facts, but they can also be a lot of fun. Encourage your students to use their creativity, and see how many different triangles they can make.
You may also be interested in: Multiplication and Division Fact Families.
If you’d like to give your students a head start, join our mailing list and receive our FREE fact family worksheet? Use this open-ended worksheet along with our 3 for Free posters to highlight the connection between number facts. Learn more about 3 for Free and work smarter, not harder!
To download our 3 for Free posters and sets of pre-made Fact Family Triangles, visit my Teachers Pay Teachers store.
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