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Math Facts.....Why Bother?

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Cognitive science researchers say that fact fluency is important, because it frees up brain space for students to work through more complicated, multi-step problems. It's harder for a student to work out a system of equations, for example, if they also have to spend time and effort figuring out 56/7 or 12x9.

But efficiency and reducing students' cognitive load aren't the only reasons that math facts are important, said Nicole McNeil, a professor of cognitive psychology who studies math learning at the University of Notre Dame.

"I think people don't appreciate, necessarily, the idea that if you become fluent in the math facts in a well-organized way, that the connections made there actually create conceptual knowledge."

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