4 Fun Ways to Learn Multiplications Facts
Learning multiplication facts is an essential part of building a solid foundation in math that will help students throughout elementary school, high school, and throughout life. Even though we have easy access to calculators, knowing multiplication facts gives students a great advantage when learning higher math skills such as division, fractions, and algebra. Before teaching the facts, be sure your child understands the concept of multiplication. Using pictures, manipulative and skip counting at the primary level, students learn that multiplication is a fast way of adding. As your child becomes more competent in knowing his multiplication facts, show how to figure out a forgotten fact by adding. For example, when your child doesn’t know 6X8, show him since he knows 5X8=40, he can add 40+8 to know 6X8=48.
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Once students understand the concept, it’s important that they have faster recall of the multiplication facts. Many students enjoy the challenge quick recall of their multiplication facts with flash cards or timed test. Other students hate the idea of being timed and having to know these facts instantly.
Using the Commutative Property, teach your child that once they know 2X8, 8X2 is the same. The Identity Property makes learning 1 times tables easy since the product of any number and 1 is that number. Put these two ideas together, your child only needs to memorize 36 facts.
Try these 4 fun ways to help your child memorize their times tables. Each of these techniques not only helps children learn multiplication facts they also tap into different learning styles.
1. Songs can be a fun way to memorize times tables. Rock, folk, country, and rap songs help students connect the math facts with music lyrics.
2. Use clever stories with pictures to help memorization skills. Many stories and rhymes can be found on the web.
3. Play card games to reinforce math facts. Using regular playing cards, each player puts down a card from their stack, and the first player who names the fact gets the cards. Treat face cards as 10’s, and aces as 1’s.
4. Teach skip counting using fingers to add a kinesthetic (learning through body movement) aspect that helps many students learn their multiplication facts. Most children learn to count by 2’s, 5’s and 10’s at an early age. Do this together, so your child is confident. Then add the fingers, by starting with the pinky finger on one hand through the pinky on the other hand.
For example count by 2’s: 2,4,6,8,10,12,14, 16, 18, and 20. Students can figure 2 X 6 by counting: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 stopping at the thumb. So they know that 2 X 6 is 12. Some students learn better when they have a visual list of numbers as they start to learn a more difficult fact family, but will soon be able to do the whole sequence without visual cues. Build their confidence by quizzing for short periods. Most students can handle working on their facts for 2-5 minutes a couple of times each day. After a few practice sessions, students may quickly associate 2 X 4 with the index finger, which is 8. Counting by 3’s, 4’s, and even 8’s can make learning even the harder times tables easy.
Keep practice sessions short and fun to help build your child’s confidence. Even though songs, rhymes, and stories may not be related to math, they are great tools to instill these facts into any child’s mind. Build on what your child already knows rather than seeing it as rote memorization. Reward your child’s progress and success often. Relax and have fun as you help your child learn.
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