I always enjoy teaching my students about Fact Families. I share the story about fact families with as much expression as I can possibly come up with. Every year, my students watch me with such curiosity as I talk about these families. It goes a little something like this....
* Be prepared- it's long and a little cheesy!
* Feel free to skip to the end to check out a Halloween bulletin board idea and a FREEBIE.
"Girls and boys, did you know there is a family of numbers that live in a house? Yes, that's right! They live in a two-story house and have some pretty weird rules. (At this point, I draw a very basic two-story house and a roof.)
Inside this house lives three numbers. There is a baby, mama, and BIG PAPA. Big Papa is the BIGGEST number in the house. (At this point, I hold my arms above my head and make it look like I'm flexing my muscles. This gesture represents BIG PAPA. I know it's corny, but it works! Later in the year, whenever a student is stuck on a subtraction problem, I simply hold my arms up and they immediately remember "BIG PAPA.")
Well, in this house, when the three numbers are upstairs, they are ONLY allowed to create addition sentences. After all, they are numbers and that's what they like to do best. Well, the "Big Papa" is very nice. He says to the other two family members, "You go first. I insist." (At this point, I draw a plus sign in the upstairs window. Then, I write two addition sentences and point out that the "Big Papa" is last in the number sentences.)
Well, when they travel downstairs, those numbers are ONLY allowed to do subtraction problems. After all, they are numbers and that's what they like to do best. "Big Papa" gets a little bossy and always insists on going first. (I add the subtraction sign in the window and write two subtraction problems.)
Guess what? These family members are NEVER allowed to leave their house AND they are NEVER allowed to have any visitors. (I explain that other numbers will NEVER be apart of those number sentences.)"
I also explain that they are a family. That means those numbers are related, just like the people in their families are related.
After this animated story, I use three different numbers and model four more number sentences (two addition, two subtraction) without the house.
This year, I took it a step further and had them create fact families on candy corns. First, they wrote their fact family with a pencil. After I checked over it, they traced it with a black crayon and colored in the candy corn. Last, the students picked out a piece of yellow or orange construction paper, glued their candy corn on it, and cut it out with a small border.