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Learning Multiplication

Learning the multiplication tables is CRITICAL in doing higher math such as division, fractions and algebra. The schools do not have the time to teach it properly so let me tell you how to teach it. The school will not teach it.

Just as you and I learned to type, we hit the same letter key over and over till it became automatic. The child can memorize their telephone number and even complete commercials because they here them over and over. Flash cards do not teach them and computers do not teach them. What you have to do is say them over and over until they come out of your mouth like A-B-C-D and Mary-had-a-little-lamb. That is why the school has the mad minute. The answer should come out in the next second or the child will Add or count by 4s. If you hold a flash card up and the child does not say the answer fast, then they will count on fingers, etc. Or the teacher will show them tricks like turning the number over or what ever to get the answer. The answer must come out as a reflex like typing.

Here is the bad news and next I’ll tell you the good news. The bad news is the parent has to walk around the block and have the child say out loud (say it alone or along with you) the one number i.e. "six times seven equals forty-two" and say it 200 times. The walking keeps them talking. Shorten the sentence by saying it similar to six apples: "six sevens are forty-two." And then you walk around saying it over and over: "six sevens are forty-two." "six sevens are forty-two." "six sevens are forty-two."!

The good news is that you only have to learn half of them. Teach them to say the small number first. So you do not have to learn 8 times 3 because you learn it in the three’s. There are only two 8’s to learn because you learned 8 times 7 in the seven’s. There are only 9 numbers above the 5’s: four 6s, three 7s, two 8’s, and 1 nine. To multiply by 10 you add the zero. We hardly ever multiply by 11 or 12 because this is the decimal system. The only one of those you need is 12X12 is 144, a baker’s dozen, a Gross.

The flash cards test them to see which ones you need to walk around the block with. If you hold a card up and they do not say the answer in the next second, then they do not know it and are starting to count or add. If they say the answer immediately, then put that card in the pile they know. If they don’t, then put it into the pile they do not know and walk around the block with it.

You will have to retest them every 6 - 12 months and teach them again. Kids forget easily when they are not using it.



Roger Knapp MD