Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Towards Multiplication Mastery

My seven year old daughter has begun learning the concept of multiplication as well as memorizing multiplication facts. A friend of mine just emailed me last night and asked for ideas to help her own daughter master her multiplication facts.

This time around, I have been much more consistent in having my child learn skip counting. I wasn't as diligent with my older two boys. They do know their multiplication facts now, but I can see that memorizing skip counting lays a more thorough foundation than just drilling facts. Skip counting communicates the concept that multiplication is fast adding.

We have a skip counting tape which sets the number lists to music, but the tunes are, for the most part, not familiar, making them difficult to learn. So, I just picked my own tunes and used the word "and" strategically to make the list fit the music! For instance, for 6's, I used "Lightly Row": six, twelve, eight-teen, twen-ty-four, thir-ty, a-and thir-ty-six, for-ty-two and for-ty-eight, fif-ty-four and six-ty.

Now when my daughter solves multiplication problems (or division), she can use her skip counting to find the answer. For instance: 6 x 6 ~ She can count "6, 12, 18, 24, 30, 36", keeping track how far to go by holding up fingers until she gets to six fingers. She can do this fairly quickly and with repetition is memorizing her facts.

Of course, she drills the facts as well and now we have a tool to use: The Flashmaster which is just a high-falutin' way of doing flashcards, but more fun.

Even at Sophie's young age, she already has her upper times tables down cold thanks to this gem:

The advertising claims that this tool helps children to learn their upper times tables in about an hour. I purchased and used Times Tales Deluxe with my kids and found the advertising to be accurate! My boys already knew their facts, but my daughter learned them for the first time in an hour and still has excellent retention of the facts months later.

These tools for multiplication mastery work for me!


Girl Gone Wild said...

Thank you so much for this tip! My hubby and I were just talking last night about the lack of math that our 1st grader was getting. It's the end of the year and they haven't touched multiplications. I want to work with him over the summer break on this. Thanks!

Betsy said...

I will have to check this out! I have heard great reports about it before.

Alexandra said...

Neat! Thanks for the tip. We used calculadder for ds, but this might be faster.