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Punch Out Those Facts, Thanks to Brain Research!

I read a lot of articles on the internet, most of them have something to do with how the brain learns and holds information. We are lucky to be teaching in the 21st century where research is published daily about the brain.  I find this absolutely fascinating, and follow several brain-related publications.

Punch out those facts! This blog post has several suggestions (research based) to help children learn facts, such as math facts.

Recently I read this article, Want to hold onto a Memory?  Make a Fist. It tells about a study about clenching fists to help the memory. First, a learner should clench the right fist for 45 seconds to activate the encoding part on the left side of the brain. (Left-handed people do the opposite.)

Then, clenching the left fist will help recall the information.

Although there is a lot of research to be done on this area, I've been suggesting to my students to clench their "writing hand" fist while saying a series of facts, for example: the "plus 3s". It would sound like this:

3+0=3 3+1=4 3+2=5 3=3+6 3+4=7
3+5=8 3+6=9 3+7=10 3+8=11 3+9=12

Then, they can sit down and write them while clenching their non-writing hand.
Of course, they might need some fun help with the clenching.

The crowd-pleaser collection:

For the sports fans:

For geography enthusiasts: (These are my favorite!)

I started using the term "punch out the facts" to remind the children to make a fist!

Even if this recent research doesn't pan out, there are plenty of brain strategies that will help the children learn their facts:

1. Talking!

Saying the fact out loud helps!

2. Visuals! 

As they read the facts, they are using visuals to help the memory!

3. Movement! 

As they clench each fist, they are physically engaged! 

4. Repetition! 

As they repeat each fact, they are making more connections in the brain! 

Here's a resource that lists all the addition and subtraction facts the children need to learn. 

Most other math skills depend upon this basic knowledge!

Explore this image for a link to this helpful resource!
Punch out those facts! This blog post has several suggestions (research based) to help children learn facts, such as math facts.

Good luck to you and your students punching out those facts!

Punch out those facts! This blog post has several suggestions (research based) to help children learn facts, such as math facts.


  1. It is worth a try! I am working on addition math fact fluency this summer with several kids, I'm going to try this! thank you! Paula

  2. Okay, now this is cool. Pinning for sure! Thanks for sharing. :)
    Creating Lifelong Learners

  3. Hi! Several years ago I attended a workshop on this. I try to incorporate these brain-based strategies into each lesson.Fact memorization has been my greatest challenge with the little ones. I never thought to use the stress balls. What a fantastic idea!The students would love them.

    Creative Lesson Cafe

  4. Fascinating! Thanks for the link to all your brain articles. I'm going to have to get my reading on. :)

    The Teaching Thief

  5. Hi, Sally. This sounds like a great way to help my students. FYI, in the subtraction facts, please change 1-1.

  6. Thank you! Just passed the fist clenching tip to my oldest who is taking organic chem in college at this moment..be interested in results!! Followed your "brain board" on pinterest....again TY!!

  7. If you want to read the actual study, you can go to the following:

    Thanks for sharing!


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