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How to Teach Children the Times Tables

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    How to Teach Children the Times Tables

    • 1). Make sure kids actually get the idea of what multiplication is all about before you try to teach them the times table. Sometimes children are pressured into a lot of abstract memorization without any real understanding of what it all means. Rather than starting with simple multiplication problems, give kids a nine-by-nine multiplication grid and, using two straight edges, explain how it provides a simple way to find out "how many altogether." Show them that if three trains each are pulling nine cars, the answer to how many altogether appears where the lines meet.

    • 2). Take advantage of everyday situations to point out how multiplication works. For example, if you say the following, "Yesterday I made three pancakes, but today I'm making three times that many," you can point out how handy it is to know, by heart, that three times three equals nine. Tell a child that Grandma is seven times older than he is and let him figure out her age. Ask a child to compute how many days it is until his birthday, which is six weeks away. These little exercises are effective reinforcement for learning the times table.

    • 3). Utilize games, varying the kind from week to week. A variety of colorful, interactive online games for learning the times table are readily available (see Resources below for one possible site). Print out multiple copies of practice sheets (also see Resources for these) and use them competitively. Either let kids challenge each other or try to beat their own time. Yahtzee is an excellent game for learning times tables since it requires the use of multiplication for scoring purposes.

    • 4). Use flashcards for those kids who respond well to them. Some kids who are visual learners enjoy flipping furiously through a stack of flash cards and have success memorizing this way. Flashcards are most effective when they are distributed in small batches, and kids get an opportunity to thoroughly learn all the multiples of one number before going on to the next one. Some kids like to use a highlighter and mark on a grid all of the multiplication facts they have memorized.

    • 5). Tell stories to kids who are auditory learners. For some children, listening to a story about how four dragons each gave six owls rides from the forest to the castle will instill a picture of those 24 owls more vividly than repeated attempts with flashcards. Of course, you can only tell---and kids can only remember---just so many stories, so keep these for the problems that are giving kids the most trouble.

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