Q&A #151

Learning multiplication tables

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From: Linda (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: May 11, 1998 at 16:27:19
Subject: Re: Learning multiplication tables

Try to make the times tables something not to be feared. Show your child that there are ways to remember the facts. There are hints and tricks to remember them. For instance, if your child knows the 2's tables, he need only double them to get the 4's table, and double again to get the 8's table. Example: To find 6x4, do 6x2 (12) and double it (24). To find 6x8, double it again (48). If you were to find all the numbers 0-99 that were the products of two single-digit numbers, you would see that there were only 37. After finding them on the 0-99 chart, you then eliminate all the "easy" ones from the 0's, 1's, 2's, and 5's tables (those are the tables most 4th graders know by heart). You are then left with only 19 numbers that are the product of two single digit numbers. They are 12, 16, 18, 21, 24, 27, 28, 32, 36, 42, 48, 49, 54, 56, 63, 64, 72, and 81. Many students know one of the 9's table tricks and can eliminate five more (27, 54, 63, 72, and 81). Now there are only 14 left to learn. Make up flash cards with these 14 left. It is much less intimidating having only 14 numbers that you have to learn the factors for. Some numbers have several factors. Example: 24 - 3x8, 8x3, 4x6, 6x4. I hope I have explained this well enough for you to understand. It still requires memorizing, but it adds some understanding to the numbers being memorized [the commutative property, which means 6x3 is the same as 3x6)]. I hope this will help your child learn his tables, but what you really want your child to know is the mathematics, to understand where the numbers are coming from and how to find the answer to a problem. I think he showed signs of that when he knew that multiplication is only repeated addition. Good Luck.

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