At Great Hearts Irving Lower School, we are passionate about math and its role in a comprehensive, interdisciplinary liberal arts curriculum. We use the Singapore approach to math instruction and Singapore Math curriculum in part because, rather than merely teaching students how to calculate or perform well on a test, Singapore Math teaches students the why of math as well as the what and the how. Singapore Math teaches students to look at the world and truth through mathematical eyes—to think mathematically.

That said, a math program which focused only on the why would be just as impoverished as one which focused only on the how. In Singapore Mathematics no less than in any other math program, automaticity with basic math facts (2+2=4, 2+3=5, etc.) is crucial. While we devote as much time as we can during the school day to practice with math facts, we strongly encourage all families to reinforce our scholars’ mastery of basic facts through regular practice at home, and we are very excited to be able to make another tool available to families. Introducing MathFactLab!

What Is MathFactLab?

Like XtraMath, MathFactLab is an online platform offering targeted practice with math facts. MathFactLab stands out by placing an emphasis on pictorial representations just like those that our students see at school as part of their Singapore Math instruction. Pictorial representations of math facts and math concepts are an integral part of Singapore Math’s CPA framework, and children need lots of exposure to pictorial representations in math to help them form strong number sense and, ultimately, fluency with both basic math facts and the foundation they will need to engage with more complex math concepts.

How to Access MathFactLab

We are glad to have been able to acquire free access to MathFactLab for all Great Hearts Irving Lower School students! Students will be coming home with their unique credentials they will use to gain access on a card. We encourage you to keep the card handy so that it is easy for your child to log in every time he/she needs to.

  1. Visit on a computer. (MathFactLab is not currently compatible with mobile devices.)
  2. Type in your child’s unique username, password, and class code.
  3. Click Login.

Great Hearts Irving’s Relationship with Technology

We remain as committed as ever in our belief that children should use technology only as much as is necessary. There is increasing evidence that overuse of electronics by children has serious, long-term detrimental effects on their development and mental health. That said, as stated in our Family Handbook, “the Academy is committed to utilizing appropriate technology to enhance student learning and increase teacher effectiveness in accordance with its mission and vision.” Like XtraMath, MathFactLab allows teachers to easily track student mastery and automatically adapts the rigor of students’ practice to their exact level, but what is really exciting about MathFactLab in particular is that it offers students practice that builds both automaticity with basic facts and number sense. While all children should make use of technology sparingly, we believe that these advantages make MathFactLab uniquely beneficial.

What are some ways I can keep my child safe online?

While use of internet-enabled devices by children contains a certain amount of inherent risk from child predators, scam artists, and others, there are some simple, concrete steps you can take to help keep your child as safe as possible.

  • Children should only use computers, laptops, tablets, or other devices in common areas like the living room, dining room, or kitchen—never bedrooms, or other private areas of the home.
  • Children should only use devices in places where the screen is in full view of an adult.
  • Children should only use devices when an adult is able to provide at least periodic supervision.
  • Children should be told which specific websites they are permitted to visit, rather than being allowed to browse at will.
  • Children should be permitted to use the computer for a predetermined amount of time.
  • Parents should investigate available parental control settings on the device itself as well as the web browser to ensure inappropriate content is blocked from view.
  • Parents should set clear expectations for the amount of time the child will use the device and stick to them. Some devices allow parents to set them to automatically deactivate after a preset amount of time has elapsed.
  • Children should be told, in a developmentally-appropriate way, that if they ever feel uncomfortable, scared, or sad because of something they saw or read online, they should tell an adult right away.
  • When children do not meet the expectations set for them regarding use of electronic devices, they should lose access to those devices for an appropriate period of time. In a recent tip from the Love and Logic Institute, Dr. Charles Fay specifically addressed technology use in children and some ways to set healthy limits.

If you encounter any problems or you have any questions about MathFactLab, please reach out to your child’s teacher or Mr. Beyer.