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 Subject: RE: upper middle schoolers that haven't yet mastered multiplication facts Author: Mathman Date: Jan 31 2005
On Jan 31 2005, sue90 wrote:

Here is a most effective method for helping students
> learn their times tables.  Most children already know the 1's, 2's,
> 5's and 10's, so use the rhyme below to help them memorize the 4's.

Good enough.  The very young like songs and rhymes, and this might help.
However, I still recall that far back, and the sing-song "One times two is
two.  Two time two is four.  Three times two is six. ... worked very well
indeed."  After that it was repetition with lots of exercise and application,
and that's what is missing in today's text books!

>Finger Facts Multiplication

Forgive me, but I have seen no advantage to Chismbop methods.  It is just a form
of carry-your-own-calculator [with no heed to the solid math behind the
system].  If you could show how this has worked or state for certainty from your
own experience, I'd listen.  My own experience at high school has been that
problems are more difficult to resolve when a studnent relies upon a method that
works partially at an early stage, but not at all at a later stage.  That is, it
is much more difficult to undo a learned process in order to proceed than it is
to start from scratch.  That occurs with other aspects taught first in high
school as well. For example, students learning the FOIL rule are often foiled by
more extended problems involving more terms.  Learning, more properly, the
process based upon distribution, they can move more readily to more extensive
problems applying the same fundamental principle.  That principle is not learned
through any shortcut.  The FOIL rule serves for the momnet, but not at all in
the long run.

What I mean is that a student might well see the finger-pattern, and then
rather clumsily be able to succesfully do some simple computation, but, also
denied the calculator, what will happen when there is a greater need which
relies upon earlier study?  That is, at what point are the tables actually and
necessarily memorised and mastered?  If a student is still using Chismbop when
s/he reaches a study of fractions, the chances of proceeding with little
difficulty are considerably reduced, I'd think.

Sometimes a study [even the times table] is difficult and onerous. That happens
for all of us at some time or another.  Although there are "shortcuts", it is
more often advisable to avoid those shortcuts when the more difficult [in this
case diligent effort to memorise] is required.  Chismbop seems to work, and
"gets them through", but does it serve them well in the long run?  If asked, I'd
not recommend it at all.

David.