Space Fact Family Mats for Hands on Addition

Space fact families combine addition and subtraction with space fun. Learning with space fact family mats is feels less like learning and more like fun.

Whenever we do big themed weeks like this Space week, it seems to bring out some really strange and random questions.  But I love these questions because they tend to be so innocent.  Questions like “How close can you get to the sun before burning up?” and “Did that guy who was stranded on Mars ever make it home?”.  We obviously discussed that movies are not always real life, but they’re questions (when not incessant and loud) are endearing.  They bring me back to my childhood.
It is Space Week here and my kids are 100% into it.  They are excited and actually stealing the activities before I’m ready.  At least they’re not bored, right?

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Supplies for the Space Fact Family Board

Fact family activities do not have to be stressful but there are a few objects I like to have one hand.

Dice
Gems
Dry Erase Markers
Any small counting objects (like the Space Toob!)

The mat itself is no prep.  No cutting, no gluing, nada.  If you want to use it like a dry erase board, you’ll need to laminate it or slide it in a sheet protector.

How to Use the Space Fact Family Mat

Fact families are one of those tools I just love having in my tool belt.  It’s one of those tools that just resonates well with some people.  But how you use it will depend on your needs.
You might use it with another curriculum.
Practicing math facts.
Or learning the relationship between addition and subtraction.

I like using fact families to practice the sets of facts.  If you know 5+6=11 then you also know 11-5=6.  Just knowing the relationship teaches you 4 different equations!

I especially like fact families for beginning addition.  We tend to use a lot of tools in the beginning until we find a few that make sense.  I love that with fact family mats we can have the manipulatives separated and then a big deal of combining them into the big circle.  I love that the big circle is bigger (because the sum will always be bigger).

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