How to Use Fact Family Houses to Teach Your Child First-Grade Math

Understanding fact families (especially those which create number sentences that add up to 10) are a key concept in first-grade math.

A fact family is made up of three numbers. As in any family, the members (number) are related. At least four math facts that can be made with them.

For example, consider 6, 4, and 10. These members of a fact family are related because the first two numbers can be added to get the third.

Knowing the Tens Facts

Tens facts
Amanda Morin

Begin by having your child list out the Tens Facts. You and your child can figure out the combination of numbers that add up to 10.

Starting with 1, ask your child what they need to add to make 10.

Be sure to list the inverse facts as well—for example:

1 + 9 = 10


9 + 1 = 10

Draw a Fact Family House

Drawing of a fact family house.
Amanda Morin

You can also draw a fact family house or print one out. All your house needs to have is a roof with three windows and a body with four bay windows.

Write two blank addition problems (____ + ____ = _____) and two blank subtraction problems (____ - ____ = _____) in the bay windows.

Move in the Fact Family

Fact family diagram
Amanda Morin

In the attic windows of your fact family house, ask your child to write the three numbers that make up the family's members. Put the largest number in the top window.

If you begin your Tens Facts with 1 + 9, the numbers in the windows will be 10, 9, and 1.

From there, have your child complete the two addition problems using the list they created. Once they've figured those out, the subtraction problems should be easy.

If you need to prompt your child, trying asking, "If I added 9 to 1 to get 10, what do you think would be left if I took that 9 away again?"

Meet the Fact Family Neighbors

Drawing of fact family neighbors.
Amanda Morin

Once you've mastered the fact family home, it's time to move on to creating a neighborhood. To start, simply draw or print four more houses. If you want to make the activity more of a craft, you can print the houses on heavy paper.

Next, have your child fill in the rest of the Tens Facts (one in each house) to create the entire neighborhood.

Build a Fact Family Neighborhood

Drawings of fact family neighborhood
Amanda Morin

Once your neighborhood is finished, have your child decorate the homes. Leave some extra paper at the bottom of the house so your child can cut them out. You can even fold the extra tab under to make the houses stand up.

Building fact family neighborhoods are great way to make first grade math concepts easy and fun for your kids to learn.