Rocket Math - What Are Your Thoughts?

Updated on April 02, 2012
M.. asks from Appleton, WI
9 answers

Does your child have rocket math? Our school district takes part in Rocket Math. If you don't know what it is - it is a timed math sheet that the kids have complete. They go at their own pace, but do have expectations of what needs to be completed by the end of the year.

My son is very good at math. He scored the highest in the district when tested. However, he struggles so much with this timed math. I'm not sure how to help him.

Have any of you dealt with this?

**Update** The reason I'm concerned is because he gets very upset and it hangs over his head every night. Last night he was crying because he was upset that he wasn't as fast as everyone else. There are other kids at the same level as him, but he just gets so frustrated. I guess I'm looking for ideas that helped kids get through the rocket math :-)


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answers from Chicago on

I did this as a kid too (the timed sheets, not the anxiety...I already knew I wasn't good at math)!

Is he upset because he's not fast as everyone else or because it's timed? I think those are 2 separate issues. If he has anxiety issues because it's timed, do practice tests at home. The more he gets used to it, the less anxiety. Plus, it's a great way for him to start getting used to timed tests since there are going to be lots more on the way.

If it's because it shows that he's not as fast as the other kids...that's a separate issue. This may require a discussion about how different people have strengths in different things, and that no one is "the best" at everything.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Minneapolis on

Our school does this too and my daughter was very stressed by it, always comparing herself to the other kids. I found a website that had similar practice sheets, having her do these at home seemed to help her confidence as well as her speed.

The practice sheets can be found under addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division (right side column) and they are listed as Spaceship Math. It isn't an exact match to what the schools use (the website was created by a dad), but they are close! The website also has a timer that I found useful as well.

Good Luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

This is how they taught us the multiplication tables many moons ago :)
We've had to start doing this with our son because if he doesn't have a time limit he takes FOREVER!

The key thing that we are trying to get our son to do on the timed math is to look at each problem for a max of 10 seconds. if you don't know the problem within 10 seconds (depending on the complexity) to move on and come back. My son is very literal. It is against his way of thinking to answer prob. 6 when he hasn't answered prob 5.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

My kids have these tests too; our district calls them "hot pencil" tests. My 2nd grader was getting stressed out that she couldn't pass them, so we practiced at home, using the same set up, but different versions of the test. (My husband used Excel to create a bunch of different versions of the test.) We also used some old-school flash cards. But in the end what really helped was talking to her about why she was having trouble. It turned out that she got very distracted by looking up to check the timer that was counting down on the Smart Board. The teacher moved her to a different table during hot pencil tests, and she very quickly was able to pass the addition one. Now we need to put in more practice time on the subtraction one. She's still stuck on those, but at least she doesn't fret about the timer anymore. Good luck!



answers from Cleveland on

Yes both of my kids do it, first and second grade. I was just talking to a teacher friend about it, I'm against the idea of timing it because I absolutlely hated doing that in school back in the day. I still stink at math today, but i don't want my kids to stink, so I do want them to know these facts so well it's like breathing for them. So we practice, the second grader is supposed to do it every night but we only do every other, First grader isn't required to practice at home, but she is super competative and often asks to practice.

I think that is one of my complaints about it, It's supposed to be them challenging themselves to better their time, but All the kids in the class seem to know what level the others are one and are super competative about it.

I will say, my kids struggled more in the beginning and it has progressively gotten easier or less stressful for them. The beginning of the subtraction was like a piece of cake after having done all the additions.

If your son is that stressed out, have a discussion with the teacher and ask her, her opinion on what aspect of it he needs help with. I'm sure it depends on the teacher but with out me asking they have adjusted my son's goals when he was hitting a wall and the frustration was causing him to shut down a bit. Maybe just knocking the goal back a smidge will be enough to ease up the pressure.

Another idea might be to give him 2 mins to reach his goal one night and 1.45 the next, and 1.3 the next and work it like that. IF it's the speed that is the issue. I think we just needed more practice writing small and fast.
my kids already knew all the facts or could figure them out by counting back or on, so for them it was just practicing speed.

If it's a problem of not knowing the facts, knock out the easy ones they do know, like +1, and doubles and just concentrate on slowly un timed learning the facts.

Good luck, I know i'm still conflicted about the whole idea.


answers from Austin on

Ha.. sounds old school to me.. We used to have to do this every day in math when we were in 3rd grade.

It is a good way to make sure they know their basics.. The better they are at math facts.. multiplication and division.. the better and faster they will be taking the test..

It soon is just natural for them to be able to dash through the problems and get them correct.


answers from St. Louis on

Why exactly must he do better in timed math? That may seem like a strange question but you said he is great at math, he tested highest in the district, why does it actually matter that he is not as good at a timed test?

Some kids are good at math some kids have to memorize everything. The kids that memorize are better at timed tests like that. Just be glad he gets it.



answers from New York on

While I do not have a child old enough to have this issue, I am an actuary and have taken more timed math exams that I care to remember! :) I believe the key is practice. I personally do not perform as well under time constraints. Your son may be nervous, which will affect his performance. It may help if you set up some time outside of school to do some practice exams and make a game out of it - allowing him to try to beat his old scores until he improves to where he wants to be. The more times he does this the faster his recall will become and the calmer he will be during the real thing at school. This was my experience. Good luck!


answers from Los Angeles on

Practice, practice, practice.

Yes, my kids have 'timed' math sheets where they have to see how many they can complete in 1 or 2 minutes. They get tested at school and are sent home practice sheets as homework every week.

~In my day we played an 'aloud' version of this called 'around the world' and I ruled at this game! It is where one child starts by standing behind the first seated child and the teacher gives you a math problem (usually basic multiplication) and who ever says the correct answer first moves on to the next seated kid...the goal is to be able to make it all around the classroom and back to your seat! So FUN! I wish they would bring that kids would dig it!

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