By Brenda J. Church on May 28 2018 13:57:22
What it is about memorizing multiplication tables that make my kids throw their pencil across the room and shout, “I hate math?” It is because, unlike spelling or vocabulary, numbers don’t create pictures for us. Multiplication tables are strings of seemingly random numbers that our children are expected to not only remember, but keep in order and in context with the numbers they are multiplying by.
Relate the numbers and multiplication tables to everyday life. Try to find ways to incorporate the math tables into daily life. This will help you truly understand the numbers instead of simply memorizing the material. If you know that a special holiday is only 8 weeks away, you can use your multiplication facts to figure out how many days away it is. There are 7 days in a week, so 7 times 8 is 56. Your holiday is only 56 days away!
Use flashcards. Make multiplication cards for each number set. Although this may seem tedious, the process of making the cards will actually help you to learn them. Once you’ve made them, spend some time each day studying until you know them all. Focus on one number set at a time. When you go through the cards, put the ones you get wrong back into the pile so you see them multiple times.
That still leaves the problem of memorizing a string of numbers, and here’s where the magic is. Teach children to skip count to the tune of a simple song. Have you ever wondered why children can learn the lyrics to songs so easily? It is because music can be used as a Mnemonic device, that is a strategy to assist with memorization. If you can associate the numbers with the sounds in a song, the children will not only learn them faster, but retain them much longer than they would memorizing them exclusively through repetition.