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

- Mary Lou

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