How to Make Multiplication Instruction Super Fun and Memorable

Posted by Erica Warren on

Multiplication Instruction that requires rote memorization is often a labor-intensive and boring task for young learners. Many kids spend countless hours with flashcards as well as paper and pencil drills.  What if I told you that there was a better way?  Instead, teachers can use songs, coloring activities, finger techniques, games, and strategies to make the multiplication quick and simple!

Four kids smiling about learning the times tables and long multiplication

What are Some Simple Strategies for Teaching the Times Tables?

There are a number of strategies that can be used with students to master their multiplication tables:

  1. Just like students can learn how to count by 2s, 5s, and 10s, they can also learn to skip count their 3s, 4s, 6s, 7s, and 8s.  
  2. I like to teach students how to skip count to melodies to enhance memory and make it more fun.  You can create your own or you can use my publication, Multisensory Multiplication and Division to Melodies.
  3. I like to teach students to recognize patterns or use tactile approaches to aid in some of the times tables.  For example, you can teach the nine times table on your hands. First, put your hands in front of your face and assign the fingers, from left to right, the numbers 1 to 10. To find 9x7, lower the finger that corresponds to 7. The number of fingers before the lowered finger is 6 and the number of fingers after the lowered finger is 3.  Therefore, 9x7=63.
  4. Use mental strategies can also help.  For example, I like to teach my students mental math tricks such as 4x12 is the same and 4x10 + 4x2.  Another example is, when solving the 9 times tables, multiply by 10 instead of nine and subtract that number. When doing 9x6, think 10x6-6=54

Child learning multiplication tables

    student coloring multiplication activityTo learn all these strategies and more, consider purchasing 

    Multisensory Multiplication.

    What are Some Long Multiplication Strategies?

    Long multiplication is another tricky math lesson.  Many students are quickly overwhelmed by the sequence of steps and rules.  To make this easier, I like to help students with

    1. Rhymes and songs that define the sequence of steps.
    2. Fun stories about why we "carry numbers" and "drop zeros" when multiplying multidigit numbers. 
    3. Visuals that show the pattern of numbers that have to be multiplied. 
    4. Color-coded steps that walk students through a series of rules.
    5. Use of large graph paper to help students keep their numbers properly aligned. 

    Monsters help children learn how to calculate long multiplication problems

    You can create strategies and materials with your students, or you can purchase my popular product, Monster Multiplication: A New, Multisensory and Mindful Approach to Long Multiplication. This publication is packed with instructional explanations, demonstrations, handouts, stories, games, rhymes, and ditties.

    I hope you have discovered some fun and out of the box ways to teach these needed skills.  If you are looking for other mathematic lessons and strategies, CLICK HERE.

    Cheers, Erica

    Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator, and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning. She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Learning Specialist Courses.

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