Multiplication facts can be easy

Multiplication facts can be easy

Students often struggle when learning their multiplication facts. This is mainly because they try to rely completely on the memorization process. Learning multiplication facts is a challenge, but it does not have to be a stressful one. Follow the tips below to help your children master their multiplication facts.

Most children are able to count by two's and five's, and so they can multiply by two's and five's. You can further reduce the number of facts your children need to learn by showing them the associative property of numbers. This means explaining the concept that 3 x 4 is the same as 4 x 3. Get a deck of multiplication flash cards, apply the associative property of multiplication, and show them that the number of multiplication they need to learn is only half. This will greatly reduce their fear of learning a large number of multiplication facts and will help to raise their confidence.

On another day, cover the concept of zero times any number. Give a page of multiplication problems with 0's, 2's, and 5's for practice and to build confidence. For more advanced students you can point out that five times any even number is equal to half the other number with a zero at the end. For example: 5 x 8 = 40 (half of 8 is 4, with adding a zero to give you 40). Also, five times any odd number always ends with a five.

Show your children that any number multiplied by one results in the number itself, and that multiplication by 10 is the same as multiplication by 1, only with a zero added to their answer.

Teach your children squares (3 x 3, 4 x 4, 6 x 6, 7 x 7, 8 x 8) faster and more easily by teaching them in a rhythmic fashion. For example, your children could do these five problems while jumping a rope, bouncing a ball, singing, or doing any activity that has a rhythmic pattern. Another way to remember these facts is to make up little stories about them. For example, in order to drive a 4 x 4, you have to be 16 years old (4 x 4 = 16).

Nine's are easy if you know the following trick. Have your children put both hands down flat on the desk and number their fingers from 1 to 10, starting with left pinky. Whenever a number is multiplied by 9 (emphasize only 9), they can use their fingers as a calculator. Here is a sample problem to show how the finger calculator works for 9 x 3. Tuck finger 3 (middle finger on left hand) under and count the number of fingers to the left of that finger. Write down the number (2). Then, count the number of fingers to the right of finger 3. Write this number (7) behind the 2. The answer is 27. This works for all 9's except when multiplied by 0 and 10. Remind students to check their answers. Whenever a number is multiplied by 9, the sum of the digits in the answer always equals 9. For example, 3 x 9 = 27 and 2 + 7 = 9.

There are now only 10 facts left to learn. At this point, the children will feel so accomplished about what they already know that ten more facts will seem simple. The last ten facts are 3 x 4, 3 x 6, 3 x 8, 4 x 6, 4 x 7, 4 x 8, 6 x 7, 6 x 8, and 7 x 8. Two memory sentences that will help children remember 3 x 4 and 7 x 8 are: "Before you go to 3rd and 4th grade, you will have to go to 1st and 2nd (12 = 3 x 4)." "Before you go to 7th and 8th grades, you will go to 5th and 6th (56 = 7 x 8).”

Remember that multiplication facts will be easier for your children to learn if they are broken down into parts. The success your children will feel after mastering these simple techniques can instill the desire to learn more. Before they even realize it, they will know all their facts.

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