Helping a Child Learn to Multiply
Date: 12/12/97 at 22:40:22 From: Mark A. Humiston Subject: To help my son with math What is the best way to help my son learn multiplication? Is there a fun way? Thank you.
Date: 12/22/97 at 13:14:59 From: Doctor Lim Subject: Re: To help my son with math Hi there, As one parent to another, I can understand what you are going through. My child also had a hard time. I too almost gave up. After trying out various methods, she has become pretty good at it and is doing well in math. There is no easy way of getting the times tables into his head, but there are ways of making it fun so that he and his brain do not think that it is work. You can help him learn multiplication tables as a song. Try looking at this site: http://genxtvland.simplenet.com/SchoolHouseRock/ Make it into a game. Call out numbers to him and get him to answer. For example, say 4 times 3 - he gets to say 12. It does not matter if he takes hours to do it, just let him do it on his own time. That way he is not pressurized. Once he gets it right, say the question again to him. This time he should be able to say the answer much more quickly. Do this whenever you have time. I do this this during car rides or during play time with my daughter. Of course, I sweeten it for her by giving her points for getting the answer quickly. The number of points she gets is exchanged for toys or something that she likes. Make a card game. Cut out regular size cards - any size you like. Print 3 x 4 on one side and 12 on the other. Print all the tables that he has to learn on them. Put them down either way. If he sees 12, ask him what will give him 12 . Is it 2 x 6 or 3 x 4 ? Both, of course, are acceptable. If he sees 3 x 4, tell him to think of the answer. He gets to keep the card if he gets the answer right. My students find learning the nine times tables to be the hardest. After using this method it became a breeze. Put his hands face down flat on the table. Number your fingers from the left. left hand right hand 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 If he has difficulty remembering, try writing the number on the back of his hand. Think of a number to multiply by 9. Let us say 7 x 9 Close the 7th finger. He should have 6 fingers open on his left and 3 fingers open on his right, and 7 x 9 = 63. Now try it out with 4 x 9. Close the 4th finger. He should have 3 fingers open on his left and 6 fingers open on his right hand, and 4 x 9 = 36. Computer programs that teach multiplication are another idea. My daughter loves playing with the programs. In playing the games, she gets to learn the multiplication tables without knowing it. Keep up the good work. Don't worry. As I have learned, expecting too much at one time can be disastrous both for you and your child. By setting short-term goals with my daughter, it became a great joy when she got the problems with multiplication right. She also was more motivated when she saw herself improving. I also become more patient when I learned to calm down and not get agitated when she got her problem wrong. Make learning fun and both of you get to enjoy quality time together. Yours sincerely, -Doctor Lim, The Math Forum Check out our web site!
Search the Dr. Math Library:
Ask Dr. MathTM
© 1994- The Math Forum at NCTM. All rights reserved.