Multiplication is one of the foundations of students’ math learning, so it is important to get it right. If you are wondering how to teach multiplication tables to children we’re here to help you do just that.
We look at the best approach to helping kids with this vital math skill.
What Age Should You Start Teaching Multiplication Tables?
By the time kids are 8 or 9 years old they are ready to begin learning multiplication tables. Moving from addition and subtraction can be daunting, so it is important to introduce this math concept at the right moment.
Getting the teaching methods correct for multiplication will make the whole process less stressful for you and for your students.
It’s also vital to get the pace of the teaching right as moving through the multiplication tables too quickly can intimidate and discourage students.
If you make the learning process accessible, and pace it correctly you will get good results, and it will also help students to engage with the concept.
Knowing multiplication will allow kids to be much more confident with their math skills.
Relating Multiplication To Addition
Many educators use the memorization approach to learning the multiplication tables and while memorization is important in some aspects it shouldn’t be the sole approach.
Students who find it difficult to memorize lots of facts or figures will not do well with this method. Instead you should use a number of different methods the first of which is relating multiplication to addition.
Your students should already be comfortable with addition. This will allow them to anchor their understanding of multiplication in terms of addition.
When you begin to teach this subject, introduce the first pillar of multiplication which is that of repeated addition. An example of this is 3 x 4 is the same as 4 + 4 + 4 or 2 x 2 is identical to 2 + 2.
Start With Multiples Of Zero & One
Starting with zero and one allows you to highlight certain facts within multiplication such as the zero property.
Explain to your students that just like adding zero to a number does nothing to change its identity so multiplying a number by zero has no effect on the number. So when multiplying by zero the answer is always zero.
The identity property states that the product of multiplying any number by 1 is the number itself. An example is 9 x 1 is 9 just like 100,000 x 1 is 100,000
So students need to understand that multiplying a number by 1 results in the same value. Help kids to understand this by using real life examples such as one row of 9 desks is 9 desks.
Explain The Commutative Property
Without using the technical terms you should explain to your students how the commutative property of factors in a multiplication problem makes the process easier.
The commutative property means that the order of two factors does not change the outcome. So 5 x 2 will yield the same result as 2 x 5.
Explain that when multiplying any two numbers they can be done in any order and the answer will remain the same. Once kids understand this it can make the multiplication tables seem less intimidating.
With this knowledge students will realize that it will make learning multiplication easier and reduce the amount of memorization that they need to do.
Using a visual model to explain the commutative property will reinforce the concept. Provide a representation of 8 groups of 2 as 2 vertical columns with 8 segments each.
Now rotate it 90 degrees until it becomes a horizontal array of 2 groups of 8. But there are still 16 segments.
Discuss Patterns In The Multiplication Tables
One of the best ways to teach multiplication tables is to use a multiplication array. Ask your students to find patterns in the array. One of the easiest to start with are the multiples of 10.
Point out to your students how all of them end in zero. Another good example are the multiples of 5. Show students how the answers always end in either 5 or zero.
As you discuss these, cross them off your multiplication chart. Now ask your students which of the other multiples are easiest to remember. Most agree that 1, 2 and 11 are easy, so you can cross them off too.
With the numbers that are left on the array remind your students of the commutative property of factors works.
So when they know that, they understand that they now only need to memorize half of the remaining tables, as 7 x 4 is the same as 4 x 7.
Memorizing Multiplication Tables
Now that your students have arrived at the point where they have to start memorizing the remaining multiplication tables you should find ways of making it easier for them.
One of the most fundamental ways that you can help children to remember multiplication tables is to have them displayed on the walls of your classroom.
This serves as a memory aid and helps reinforce the multiplication facts they have learned. Set time aside each day for students to practice multiplication either verbally or in writing.
Don’t introduce new multiplication facts in bulk. Give students time to absorb new facts and make sure they understand them fully before bringing in any others.
Using Games & Activities To Learn Multiplication
Use games and activities to reinforce what the children have learned in a way that is fun.
You can also monitor how they are using the methods and strategies that you have taught them. This allows you to fix any mistakes before they become ingrained.
Although worksheets are not the most exciting things for kids to practice their multiplication with, it will let you assess when they are ready to move on to something new.
We hope that you have enjoyed this guide on how to teach multiplication and that it has been helpful and informative for you.
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