Students in the second and third grades have mastered the facts of addition and subtraction and are starting to learn their multiplication tables. Learning multiplication requires them to memorize many facts. This is a daunting task for students who struggle with memorization. Therefore, a resourceful instructor will teach her students multiplication by using tricks. Many students struggle the most with the seven and eight times table. Songs, word associations and short stories are methods that help students learn multiplication facts.
Seven Times Table
A great trick to help students remember the seven times table is to sing the numbers to a catchy tune. One tune that will stick in the children's minds all day is "she'll be coming 'round the mountain when she comes." Write the numbers 7, 14, 21, 28, 35, 42, 49, 56, 63 and 70 on the board. First sing the song with the students while drawing out the song so that each number is heard clearly. Sing the song multiple times, and then have the class sing it by themselves once. Erase the first two numbers and have the class sing the song again. Keep erasing numbers until the class knows the song by heart.
Songs are not enough for some students, who need tricks that directly relate to the facts being memorized. Teach these students each fact individually, with a trick to remember it. The following rap is used in Ms. Chelak's third grade. Write it down on the blackboard or on a piece of paper for the students to see:
" 7 x 1 = 7. Hey now I'm going to Heaven."
" 7 x 2 = 14. Now, please don't get mean."
" 7 x 3 = 21. Now I have just begun."
" 7 x 4 = 28. Now don't you make me wait."
" 7 x 5 = 35. Come on now and look alive."
"7 x 6 = 42. I know 7's, now so do you."
"7 x 7 = 49. Look at me, I'm doing fine."
" 7 x 8 = 56. Now I have lots of tricks."
" 7 x 9 = 63. Aren't you proud of me?"
Tell the children a cute story to help them remember that 7 x 6 = 42. Say: "One day the seven took the six to the 42nd street cafe." Make a drawing that makes the seven look like a man and the six look like a woman heading to a cafe that is drawn around the number 42. This will leave an impression in the students' minds that they will remember. Another great story for remembering that 7 x 7 = 49 is to tell the students that two sevens were put on the 49'ers football team. Draw football caps on top of each seven and a football field around the number 49.
Eight Times Table
A helpful way to remember the eight times tables is to pair each number with a word that rhymes with it, and then make a phrase that will help the students to remember it. By the time students are learning the 8 times tables, they have mastered the other tables. This limits the eight times table to a few new equations that must be learned. Teach the students the following numbers and their rhyming words: "3 = tree," "4 = door," "7 = Heaven" and "8 = skate."
To teach the students that 8 x 3 = 24, tell them a story about a tree that wanted to go ice skating in a rink but was so heavy that the owner of the rink told the tree to leave because he was denting the floor. Add an illustration to accompany the story. After the story, write "skate x tree = denty floor." Another difficult equation to remember is 8 x 4 = 32. Tell the students another story about a door that loves to skate. He finds some dirty sticks and creates a dirty ramp in the shape of a u to skate on. Write "8 x 4 = 32" on the board, and then write " skate x door = dirty u."
More Times Table Tricks
The three equations left are 8 x 7, 8 x 8 and 8 x 9. Teach the students that 8 x 7= 56 by turning around the equation to look like 56 =7 x 8, and then show the students how the numbers go in order: 5, 6, 8 and 8. Next is 8 x 8 = 64. Tell the students a short story about eight times eight who went to the store to buy Nintendo 64. Use creativity to make some eyes, nose and hair for each number eight and to make a store surrounding the number 64.
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