Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Multiplication Fun ...

Homeschooling means learning, even for the teacher. Over the years I have tried to stress rote memorization but as much as I would like them to do it... sometimes they just don't. I can't blame homeschooling for this, I didn't do it when I was in school either. So I have learned a few tricks that help... the hope is that they have to do this stuff so often that they slowly but surely memorize the problems anyway.

Of course there are the ones we have all heard:

Skip counting, if you can count by 2's, 3's, 4's, etc. then you can multiply easily.

The 4's trick: Double the number then double again.

Then there are some that are a little less known... or at least  they were for me.

The 9's trick: Hold out your hands in front of you with fingers outstretched.
Bend the finger down that is in the position from left to right that you are multiplying by 9. The number of fingers you have before the bent finger is the first number, the number of fingers you have after the bent finger is your second number.

Example: 9 x 3= 27

Here is a trick I've only just seen. I'm going to try and demonstrate it, but you can look at the original post as well HERE.

I used paper fingers.

Starting with the thumb number each hand with the numbers 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10. 

Example: 7 x 8
Touch the numbers together that you are multiplying.
Count the number of fingers that are touching and under. So here it would be 5.  That is the number that goes in the 10's spot, therefore that is 50.

Count the number of fingers above the touching fingers on the left: 3
Count the number of fingers above the touching fingers on the right: 2
Multiply them: 2 x 3 = 6 
Add that number to the first number. 50 + 6 = 56

7 x 8 = 56

Yes, this can be complicated AT FIRST, but once you've done it a few times - easy.

11's trick for double digits:  Take the number you are multiplying by separate them with a space between in the answer then add the numbers together...
Example: 11 x 15
In the answer: 1_5, then add 1 and 5 for the middle number. 1+5=6
Answer is 165

A word on these tricks.  I don't necessarily like any "learning tricks". But we all know that kids learn differently, and sometimes finding a trick is better then fighting them until they HATE the work. Learning should be fun. It isn't always, but when you can take a frustrated kid, show them a little trick, and defuse the situation things tend to go smoother.

That being said, you can also do things to make memorizing the facts fun. This is something we will be starting tomorrow. This is one for the "oh I KNEW that" file. Because yes, I have heard of this before BUT I had forgotten all about it.

Deck 'em
Use a deck of playing cards for a game of Multiplication War.
Initially, children may need the grid (below) to become quick at the answers.
Flip over the cards as though you are playing Snap.
The first one to say the fact based on the cards turned over (a four and a five = Say "20") gets the cards.
The person to get all of the cards wins!
Children learn their facts much more quickly when playing this game on a regular basis.

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