Multiplication Tips!

Aug 28, 2015 | Chattanooga

Many of our young students have been earnestly filling in their times tables. Here are four of many important skills we teach to pave the way toward multiplication mastery:

1) Skip Counting: We have children count by a number starting at 0. This skill is easy to practice at home. "0, 4, 8, 12... 0, 6, 12, 18,..."

2) Adding 10 First: Skip counting is all fine and dandy when it comes to the small numbers, but what about the bigger ones? One trick we teach is to add 10 first. This works great for adding 8, 9, 11, and 12. Since 12 is 10+2, we could go up 10 and then up 2. Since 9 is 10-1, we could go up 10 and down 1. Kids enjoy getting fast at this. You could have them count by one of the numbers above starting at any number for practice at home: "6, 14, 22, 30... 4, 13, 22, 31..."

3) Multiplication is Repeated Addition: When kids are first learning multiplication, we rarely use the phrase what is five times three. Instead, we say "what is five three times?" Phrasing it this way gets kids into the mindset of multiplication as a process rather than a fact. They might not know 5 times 3, but they can often respond "five, ten, FIFTEEN!" when asked what five three times is.

4) Launching Points: Once children have developed a good understanding of multiplication as repeated addition and "memorized" some of their multiplication facts, we start to prompt them to reason as follows: "If five 5s is 25, then six 5s is 25 + 5. So six times five is 30." "If ten 8s is 80, then nine 8s is 80 - 8. So nine times 8 is 72." We can begin to use known multiplication facts as launching points to discover other multiplication facts.