As a math teacher I saw first hand how debilitating it is when children do not know their multiplication tables. Multiplication is the building block for everything in math. It can really hold a child back if they do not get this down pat… the goal is for them to be able to spout them off without even thinking. Once they have this down it will be much easier for them to understand and learn higher math.
The key is to make sure your child understands the ideas behind multiplication before starting to memorize the tables. Conceptual learning should always be the foundation. It takes a bit more effort to learn on a conceptual level rather than to just memorize math algorithms and formulas, but conceptual thinking is a skill that will benefit your kids through out their academics.
Steps to Teaching Multiplication:
1. Teach them what multiplication is. Example: 4 x 3 = 4 + 4 + 4 or 3 + 3 + 3 + 3. Do not have them start memorizing until you are sure they conceptually understand what multiplication is and how it is used.
2. Make it fun! Turn their memorization into a game. Make or buy some flash guards and give them points or rewards. Time them and have them compete against their own time. Have them memorize all the way up to 12 x 12.
3. Go in order so they are not overwhelmed. Start with 2’s, then 3’s, etc…
We decided to do an ice cream cone. Each time my little guy can quickly shout out each answer from the flashcards he passes that “scoop” level. Once he has earned all 12 scoops the whole family will go get ice cream together.
In order for him to pass a new “scoop” level he also has to have retained all the previous “scoop” levels. Basically this means that I mix in the current “scoop” flash cards with all the previously passed ones and make him pass all of them in order to get a new scoop on the wall.
My niece decided to make a turkey and put in a new feather for each new multiplication table she passes. You could also make snowballs on a snowman, pepperoni on a pizza, etc.. whatever you think will motivate your child and make it fun for them.
About Jamie Hinckley
I am a mom of three crazy boys! We love life, play hard, and ALWAYS get messy! Life is busy and full of fun, jumping, crashing, skinned knees, rough housing, torn jeans, scratches, but most of all LOVE. Yes, life is crazy. Actually its completely nuts, but I wouldn't change a thing! We love life and can't wait for our next adventure... and one day, possibly a little girl! Haha!