Q&A #151

Learning multiplication tables

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From: Mary Lou (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: May 10, 1998 at 16:36:34
Subject: Re: Learning multiplication tables

The time-honored way to learn the multiplication tables is to use flash cards. I was once told by a Harvard professor that memory work is best done prior to sleep so that the subconscious can work on what is to be memorized. If this is true, then recitation of the times tables prior to sleeping is a good idea. What you say about your child's learning methods is very encouraging. Since multiplication is repetitive addition, the way to understand the times tables is to add the same number to the answer. Hence 5 x 6 is 6 + 6 + 6 + 6 + 6. A kindergarten child once astounded my sixth grade class by his ability to do multiplication. What they didn't know he was doing was adding! The fact that your child is in the fourth grade means that he is expected to KNOW these values, not just FIND them. Have him make flash cards: 1 x 6 = 6, 2 x 6 = 12, 3 x 6 = 18, etc. for the sixth times table. Learning these in this manner will reinforce his understanding: (the number of times ) x (a number is added). - Mary Lou

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