Drexel dragonThe Math ForumDonate to the Math Forum

Ask Dr. Math - Questions and Answers from our Archives
_____________________________________________
Associated Topics || Dr. Math Home || Search Dr. Math
_____________________________________________

Tips for Learning Multiplication Tables


Date: 08/13/98 at 11:50:17
From: Leah McGillicary 
Subject: Times tables 

I am going into grade 8 and have great difficulty with my 4 times 
table and also 6,7,8,9 times tables. What do I do? Help!


Date: 08/13/98 at 12:44:01
From: Doctor Rick
Subject: Re: Times tables 

Hi, Leah -

Things are far from hopeless. There are lots of ways to memorize 
things like the multiplication tables. Which one will work best 
depends on you. Think about how you learn other things best, and what 
you like best. People learn in different ways. For instance:

- Are you visual? Make a copy of this multiplication table. (Find one
  number at the left and the other at the top; their product is found  
  where that row and column meet.) Some people get so they can 
  visualize the table in their heads.

          1 | 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

- Do you learn what you listen to? You could make a tape, "Two times 
  two is four. Two times three is six. ..." (or just pick out the ones  
  that give you trouble.) Play it over and over, while you're washing 
  dishes or whatever.

- Maybe writing it out over and over will help. You could even get 
  artistic.

- Maybe doing numbers in different colors or odd shapes will make them 
  stick in your mind.

- Do you learn best by doing? You need to do lots of real problems.  
  You could try to fool yourself. Make up a multiplication table and 
  put it on a piece of cardboard at your homework desk. As you do 
  problems, look up at the table - really quickly, as if you're 
  cheating. As it becomes a habit, maybe soon you won't really be 
  looking at all!

- Are you process-oriented - you like it when one thing follows 
  another? Think of multiplication by four as counting by four. 
  Hear it in your head like a marching song: 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, ... 
  With practice, you won't have to go through the whole thing, just 
  fast-forward to the right number.

- Are you the social type? Maybe you need to enlist some friends or 
  family. Make up games. Make it fun.

- Are you the logical type? Look carefully at the table above. Find 
  patterns. For instance, you listed 9s as difficult, but there is an 
  easy pattern. Every number in the 9 row has digits that add up to 
  9: 1+8, 2+7, ... The first digit is one less than the number you're 
  multiplying by 9. If that helps you, use it! Elevens are a cinch, 
  too, at least until you reach 10.

- If, try as you might, there are still some numbers you can't 
  remember, you can always find ways to fill in the gaps. If you can't 
  remember 6 times 7, maybe you can remember 7 times 6 - and it's the 
  same thing, of course! If I have trouble with 6 times 7, I might say 
  to myself, "6 times 7 is 5 sevens plus another 7. Five sevens is 35, 
  add 7 to get 42." There's nothing wrong with that - it's slower than 
  just knowing it right out, but do whatever you need to do ...

You can search the Dr. Math Archives for "multiplication tables" to 
find some more hints. You aren't alone! Here are some answers that I 
found in the Archives:

  http://mathforum.org/dr.math/problems/harri1.6.97.html   
  http://mathforum.org/dr.math/problems/muller2.26.96.html   

What you do is limited only by your own imagination and your 
determination. You sound pretty determined, so don't lose hope. I'll 
be interested to hear what works for you.

- Doctor Rick, The Math Forum
  http://mathforum.org/dr.math/   
    
Associated Topics:
Elementary Multiplication

Search the Dr. Math Library:


Find items containing (put spaces between keywords):
 
Click only once for faster results:

[ Choose "whole words" when searching for a word like age.]

all keywords, in any order at least one, that exact phrase
parts of words whole words

Submit your own question to Dr. Math

[Privacy Policy] [Terms of Use]

_____________________________________
Math Forum Home || Math Library || Quick Reference || Math Forum Search
_____________________________________

Ask Dr. MathTM
© 1994-2013 The Math Forum
http://mathforum.org/dr.math/