8 Tips for Teachers

#1 TOP TIP: Create a shared account for your classroom so that you can assign time in the classroom or homework and keep track of your students' scores! Read how HERE.

2. Use the number lines and Fact Sheets to help students visualize their basic math facts.
Print out number lines and Fact Sheets for your students (available in the menu). Use the number lines, Fact Sheets, and the following formula to help the students discover their basic math facts:

‌a ? b = c
Addition (? = +): Have your child start at a on the number line and count up b to get to c (in other words, move to the right b spaces).
Subtraction (? = -): Have your child start at a on the number line and count down b to get to c (in other words, move to the left b spaces).
Multiplication (? = x): Have your child start at zero on the number line and take b jumps of a to get to c.
Division (? = /): Have your child start at a on the number line and prove that b jumps of c will get them back to zero.

3. Encourage new players to use the Fact Sheets as they play.
Allow students to use the Fact Sheets as they play FactFreaks. Have them use highlighters to mark any facts they struggle with; they’ll create personalized lists of the facts they still need to work on as they go.

4. Have struggling players go to Basic Training first.
This will enable them to learn their facts without a stoppage of gameplay. Once they can play for a minute and get ten correct without mistakes, encourage them to play FactFreaks.

5. Have Freaky Fridays
Give the kids (and yourself) a break at the end of the workweek by having them play FactFreaks.

Imagine: they’ll be getting some “down time” and sharpening their math skills at the same time!

6. Consider using a reward system for reaching Full-Speed (40 facts per minute)
Students must be able to correctly complete 40 facts per minute to be considered proficient with basic math facts. Students who do so should be rewarded for achieving this all- important educational milestone! (Also, feel free to reward them for any other milestones along the way!)

As a general rule, students should reach Full-Speed in Addition by the end of 1st grade, Subtraction by the end of 2nd grade, Multiplication by the end of 3rd grade, and Division by the end of 4th grade.

Full-Speed in Scrambler by the end of 5th grade and Impossible Scrambler by the end of 6th grade are also recommended.

7. Play FactFreaks yourself
“Do as I say, not as I do” has never worked as an educational strategy. Students need to see you playing FactFreaks yourself - and yes, even struggling with it from time to time - if they are to get the idea that math fact proficiency is a crucial skill that all humans need, not just children.

8. Have the students play “Freak Out”

Players stand in a circle and try to stump each other with basic math facts. Last one standing wins.


  1. Questioners must not hesitate or repeat questions, and must limit themselves to basic math facts. (A basic math fact is one in which two of the numbers involved are single-digit. 8 + 9 is a basic math fact; 8 + 10 is not.)
  2. Questioners must clearly point to the designated answerers as they ask the questions.
  3. Answerers must provide correct answers on the first try, and must not hesitate or stall. (The use of “uh” and “um” is strictly prohibited!)
  4. Students who do not satisfy the first three rules are ejected from the game with a firm and immediate “Freak, Out!” and must either continue to watch the game in silence, or play FactFreaks in silence to prepare for future games.

Tips for the Referee:

  1. Do not permit any extraneous talking during the game. This will allow the entire group to hear and internalize the facts involved.
  2. Give questioners and answerers a 3-second time limit when the game begins. Decrease this amount of time as the game progresses, to increase the drama.
  3. Walk around the circle at an increasingly rapid pace as the game progresses, again to increase the drama.

Tips for the Teacher:

  1. Look for opportunities to join with other classes for a large-group “Freak Out Frenzy.”
  2. Look for opportunities to draw parents, guardians, and other adults into the competition. Adults enjoy it just as much as kids do!
  3. Variation - have a trusted student act as referee - and you play the game with the kids!

Steve Hare

Math-Whisperer. Humanist.
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