KIRF's (Key Instant Recall Facts) are pieces of mathematical knowledge that we want the children to learn off-by-heart or be able to work out very quickly (within 3 seconds).
They are designed to support the development of the mental skills that underpin mathematics. They are particularly useful when calculating, be it adding, subtracting, multiplying or dividing. They will include facts such as number bonds, counting on and back, times tables, equivalence of units of measure, square and cube numbers etc.
Each year group is allocated key facts to focus on throughout the year, in line with age related expectations. These should be practised for rapid recall.
Why are they important?
Research shows that:
- Learning key facts ‘by heart’ enables children to concentrate on the calculation which helps them to develop calculation strategies.
- Using and applying strategies to work out answers helps children to acquire and so remember more facts.
- Many children who are not able to recall key facts often treat each calculation as a new one and have to return to first principles to work out the answer again.
- Once they have a secure knowledge of some key facts, and by selecting problems carefully, you can help children to appreciate that from the answer to one problem, other answers can be generated.