Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Strategies for Multiplication Facts

Learning multiplication facts can be a frustrating experience for some students.  It can be related to a lack of developmental readiness for skip counting, repeated addition, and making arrays.  If students practice these prerequisite skills before trying to memorize multiplication facts, they will have a strong foundation for this area of math.  There are several strategies that can be used to teach multiplication.

1.  Organize the facts into small systematic steps
2.  Provide each student with a coy of a blank multiplication table and have them practice filling it in.
3.  For doubles facts, teach students how to add doubles to their multiplication table.  This is usually easy and fun for students (2x2, 4x4, etc.).  Point out to students that all of the doubles facts are on a diagonal line from the top left to the bottom right.
4.  The mirror facts:  highlight the facts on one side of the doubles line and show the students how the items are mirrored on the opposite side (5x6 and 6x5 both will equal 30).
5.  Counting by 2's, 5's, and 10's:  Students should be able to skip count by 2's, 5's, and 10's and fill in the spaces on a 100 chart.
6. Nine's Facts:  Use your fingers to find the 9's
   a.  Place your hands on the desk.  Your fingers will stand for 1 to 10
   b.  Fold over the finger that is the number you will multiply by 9.
   c.  Count the number of fingers before the folded finger.  That number is the first digit in the product.
   d.  Count the number of fingers after the folded finger.  That number is the last digit in the product.

What other strategies/tricks can you suggest? 

1 comment:

  1. There is one master-method to multiply all the numbers from 6-9. It's a similar rule to the 9s. But all of these methods are actually BAD unless you learn why they work. Making math "just a trick" is counter-productive.
    There is a course at http://learn2multiply.com where you can learn the how and why to all the numbers from 1-15, and some great ways to practice.

    You can check out one of the ways at The Math Mojo Chronicles .

    Another way to get children to absolutely love multiplication (as well as the other operations) is to teach them to solve Kenken puzzles. You won't be able to hold them back from learning math if you get them into Kenken. Check out http://squidoo.com/kenken-puzzles.