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 Discussion: Research Area Topic: upper middle schoolers that haven't yet mastered multiplication facts

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 Subject: RE: upper middle schoolers that haven't yet mastered multiplication facts Author: epstein744 Date: Jan 1 2005

the first says: lack of arithmetic ability should never interfere with math
learning - so when teaching a new topic keep the multiplication simple - use
mult by 2 or by 5 whenever possible
e.g. if I'm teaching ax = b why give 7x = 56 when I can give 2x = 6
the underlying mathematics says to solve equations of the form ax = b
x = b/a or multiply both sides by the multiplicative inverse of a
(1/a) if they can multiply by 2 and 5 - and my weakest students could almost
always do that - you can build on those skills by introducing other facts slowly
but they get to learn the mathematics successfully and are not constantly
penalized and embarrassed by arimethic failings

the second response is: you don't have to give up on their learning their times
tables (my rule says by 9th grade - give up- they haven't learned it yet- it's
time to quit and give out the calculators)
give out sheets of empty times tables and let them fill in the rows and columns
they can - show them the pattern for 9's (units down from 9 - tens up from 0 -
the sum of tens and units is always 9

now they know the ones, twos, fives and nines - and in a 9x9 grid they have
filled in 56/81 of the boxes leaving four open rectangles

you give out the sheet at the beginning of the period and ask them to fill in
the boxes they've learned - when the whole class can complete the 56 boxes in
under 3? 4? (up to you) minutes
you can then add another table

you can add the fours by explaining that if they can count by two's
they can count by fours - soft loud 2 Four 6 Eight

or you can show them how to add the first two columns to get the third - and you
get to teach or review the distributive law at the same time they learn the 3x
table

when you finish both the 3's and the 4's and kids can fill in all the blanks in
under ____ minutes
you are left with the NASTY NINE which can be worked on separately from the rest
of the table and integrated later

after a month or two - they begin each lesson with a table they complete
themselves and are then allowed to use for that period

up to you when to tell them they have to give them up
I say - never -