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Some people seem to have real difficulty learning their
multiplication facts. Parents, teachers, and students have written to
Dr. Math asking for help with learning their multiplication tables (see
some of the There are many ways to help us remember such things, but what works best will be different for different people. For example, you can try to remember something by saying it repeatedly, writing it, acting it out, representing or drawing it, making up a game or story or song about it, and so on. Usually, the more ways you use to connect it to your brain, the easier it is to remember it. Here's how this might work with multiplication facts.
Since 1 times any number is just that number, we can leave the 1's
off. Multiplying a number on the left by a number on the top gives you
the number ("product") where the row (across) meets the column (down).
Here's x | 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 --+------------------------------------------ 2 | 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 | 3 | 6 9 12 15 18 21 24 27 30 33 36 | 4 | 8 12 16 20 24 28 32 36 40 44 48 | 5 |10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 | 6 |12 18 24 30 36 42 48 54 60 66 72 | 7 |14 21 28 35 42 49 56 63 70 77 84 | 8 |16 24 32 40 48 56 64 72 80 88 96 | 9 |18 27 36 45 54 63 72 81 90 99 108 | 10 |20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 110 120 | 11 |22 33 44 55 66 77 88 99 110 121 132 | 12 |24 36 48 60 72 84 96 108 120 132 144 Some people describe a row (or column) as "skip counting," so the
row beginning at 5 is the row of "5 times" facts, or "skip counting
x | 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 --+------------------------------------------ | 5 |10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 These "times tables" can be memorized as a smaller chunk by themselves. Sometimes making a song or story helps you learn them. SchoolHouse Rock (select Multiplication, or see Schoolhouse Rock Lyrics) provides a good example. Finding patternsA good way to learn multiplication facts is to look for other
patterns in the table. For example, notice that 4 o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o 4 o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o 7 o o o o 7 o o o o o o o o When you begin using the table to learn multiplication facts, move
one finger across and one finger down to meet at the product, and say
the facts aloud as you do this. For example: Another pattern you may notice is that the products in the 9 times
table have a special property: for each product, the sum of the digits
FlashcardsIf you are writing the numbers down, you can make flashcards. For
example, write Playing cardsYou can also use regular playing cards to help practice with multiplication facts. Remove the Kings and Queens from a deck of "Jumbo Index" cards. Use a broad-tip marker to write an "11" on each Jack and a "12" on each Ace. Shuffle and then have someone else flip over two cards. Your goal is to say the two multiplication facts that go with the pair of cards. Keep the pair aside if you can't say the product in a short time. Focus on the facts that give you trouble. For example, if you want to concentrate on practicing the 12's table, turn over single cards, with each card representing "12 x (card value)".
Having fun always makes learning easier, so use games to help you practice multiplication. For example, you can use your special playing card deck to play a game like "Factor." You need to know that a factor is a number that divides evenly into a product, so that 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 12 are all factors of 12.
- Each player gets 6 cards.
- The first player declares a "Target Product," which has to be a product of two cards in his or her hand.
- Each player shows the cards of numbers that are factors of the target product. Everyone must agree that each of the numbers is really a factor.
- Each player gets the sum of their correct factors as points for that hand. Scores are recorded.
- The cards are shuffled and dealt again. The next person to the right declares the target product for the new hand.
- The game ends when the first person reaches more than 100 points.
- You can adjust the game by changing the winning total, or playing with partners, or by using a target number that is the product of three card values, etc.
best answers from the Dr. Math Archives, or explore Learning to Multiply, from the Teacher2Teacher FAQ. |

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