Fast Facts: “I know important mathematical patterns off by heart, and can recall facts quickly”

In contrast to Strategies, the Fast Facts goal is primarily about learning simple mathematical patterns so that they can be accurately retrieved without computation. The other component of Fast Facts is building students mathematical processing speed. Both these objectives are consistent with reducing the load on a student’s working memory, allowing them to focus on broader aspects of a problem (Cowan, 2003).

Once students have mastered rudimentary, related mathematical constructs such as one-to-one correspondence, cardinality and conservation of number, it is appropriate to introduce basic number patterns, such as “rainbow facts” (i.e., number facts equalling ten), counting by 2’s or double patterns. Students can then begin to absorb and to commit these patterns to memory. The learning of such patterns and their rapid reproduction when prompted is what Fast Facts refers to within SURF.