Like a lot of homeschool families, we have tried quite a few math programs trying to find the “just right” fit. For the past few years, I’ve used Rod and Staff Math for my elementary-age students, and it has been a great curriculum match for my girls.
I like many aspects of Rod and Staff Math, but one of my favorites is their review of math facts. Math facts are pushed very hard, and I am seeing the fruit of this method in abundance with my girls.
While ‘typical’ math facts are present in most every elementary math curriculum, learning ‘Triplets’ was new to me. Rod and Staff Math teaches the regular addition and subtraction math facts, and then requires memorization of the fact families with sums to 18.
When I first read this in the Teacher’s Manual, I wasn’t so sure how I felt about memorizing those particular facts. Wasn’t that unnecessary? Why add even more math facts to the flash card rotation when I’m already pulling teeth with the regular set?
Suffice it to say I have been pleasantly surprised with how beneficial it’s been to learn the Triplets. I’ll show you the way we use them in our home.
You can browse through all of the Math Worksheets and posts here at Mama’s Learning Corner.
What Are Triplet Flash Cards?
If you’re not familiar, Triplets are math facts with sums from 11 to 18. The goal is to learn these fact families and not have to think about the calculation each and every time the fact is used.
For example, for the sum of 11, there are 4 facts:
11 = 9 + 2
11 = 8 + 3
11 = 7 + 4
11 = 6 + 5
Note that the Triplets do not include 10 + ___ .
Starting in Rod and Staff Math Grade 2, Triplet facts are very slowly introduced, usually 1 fact per week.
The facts are solidified in Rod and Staff Math Grade 3. Like almost all Rod and Staff textbooks, the review that leads to mastery is guided in the Teacher’s Manual. The consistent review is prompted each day until mastery is achieved.
My youngest girl learns best through writing and flash cards, so I knew I would need to create her a set of Triplet flash cards.
Interestingly, I couldn’t find a set to purchase anywhere!
Using Triplet Flash Cards
You’ll find three sets of cards in this set:
- One set contains the entire Triplet → 11 9 2
- One set contains a missing portion of the Triplet → 11 ___ 2
- One set contains a different missing part of the Triplet → 11 9 ___
Some days, I had my daughter lay out all of the 11s and 12s that contained the whole Triplet (no missing parts) and then read them all aloud. So she would go down the list of 11s in the same order, and then the 12s in the same order.
Doing the Triplets in the same sequence really helped her solidify those facts in her brain. It’s similar to doing a Latin Recitation in the same way each time.
Other days, I would send her off with the flash cards, and she would be required to fill in the missing parts herself.
Occasionally, I would stand and flash the cards to her in mixed up order. Of course this was the hardest method!
You will notice that the Triplets are not written as an equation. The Rod and Staff Math Teacher’s Manual advises the Triplets to be recited without the “equals” or any other words such as plus, minus, or and.
Again, I wasn’t sure how I felt about this, but I tried their suggestion anyway. It worked out beautifully!
So for the 11s, for example, she recites the following:
11 9 2
11 8 3
11 7 4
11 6 5
Of course there are numerous opportunities to write the facts in equation format, so my concerns were for naught.
I also like the way removing the extra words speeds up the recitation.
You can certainly use Triplet Flash Cards with any math curriculum, Rod and Staff Math just makes it easier to implement since the Teacher’s Manual reminds you to review them at specific intervals.
I really appreciate it when aspects of curriculum are on auto-pilot like that!
All Access Pass members can download this entire packet in the All Access Pass area.
If you don’t have an All Access Pass, you can purchase the Triplet Flash Cards here: