Learning the Multiplication Tables

In a previous post, I tried to show that learning the multiplication tables need not be daunting for children (or even adults). Here are a few odd methods and techniques that might also help.

Patterns

There are some well-known patterns and properties that might help to recall the facts or to check your answers.

• if either factor is even, the product is even
• if both factors are odd, the product is odd
• the digits in the nine times table always sum to 9
e.g. 63 = 7×9, and 6+3 = 9
• the fives all end in ‘0’ or ‘5’

Nines on Fingers

A great method for the nine times table is the fingers method. Name your fingers 1 to 10 from left to right (as you read). To work out what X nines are, then fold down finger ‘X‘. Then read off the counts of fingers either side of the gap as digits.

For example, 3×9: fold down finger ‘3’. That leaves 2 fingers, gap, 7 fingers: 27.

Particular Mnemonics

To remember 7×8=56: notice that in 56=7×8, the digits are 5-6-7-8.

To remember 8×8=64: either think of a chess board, or use the rhyme:

“I ate and ate and was sick on the floor,
eight eights are sixty-four.”

For 7×7=49: A 7-by-7 diamond is just less than half the area of the 10×10 square it sits inside; one less than 50.

Games

When trying to encourage children to learn their tables, sometimes it helps to play games. These could be card games (remove the picture cards from the pack). For example, turn all cards face down. A turn might consist of turning two cards over. If you correctly say what the product of the two face values is, you win the cards.

If you get yourself a set of double-nine dominoes, these too can be good for tables practice. Each domino represents one of the entries in the tables. These may be used to practice all the tables, or some subset, in a random order. All the dominoes with a zero (blank) or one could be removed.