If you find it hard to teach the basic multiplication facts, you are certainly not alone. There are a few main challenges that we encounter when teaching basic multiplication facts.
First of all – time. How do we find the time to do a really good job of teaching the multiplication facts, while also doing a really good job of teaching everything else in our overwhelming curriculum? We know that basic fact knowledge is essential as students move into the older grades, but it can be difficult to acheive.
Secondly, differentiation. All of our students learn at different speeds. We can’t expect them all to learn the multiplication facts at the same time, but how do we ensure that each student is working to his full potential?
One last big challenge is the balance between mental math strategies and memorization. Students used to be expected to memorize the facts, without any mental math instruction at all. For those students who can do this, it’s great! But there are many students who just can’t memorize all of the facts and remember them. We need to teach mental math strategies, while also encouraging memorization. This will lead to automaticity with the multiplication facts, which is our ultimate goal.
Fortunately, there are things that we can do to make multiplication easier for our students, and accessible for all of them. We can teach in a strategic order that really makes practical sense.
We can also teach our students strategies for each set of facts that will make multiplication FUN, and less challenging.
Now, before I get started talking about these strategies, I do want to let you know that I have an upcoming live webinar for Teaching Multiplication and Division for Mastery. You’ll leave with tons of new ideas, free resources, a PD certificate, and much more! See available dates and times and REGISTER HERE.
Alternatively, if you are looking for a resource where all of the work is done for you, you may be interested in The Multiplication Station, a self-paced, student-centered math station where students work through the basic multiplication facts and strategies, mastering each one as they go. Strategies are integrated in a strategic manner, ensuring that students build on their understanding progressively. See the Multiplication Station HERE.
Strategies are ESSENTIAL. I like to think of strategies like tools in a tool box. When our students see an equation, we want them to be able to choose an effective strategy that will help them solve that particular equation.
I’ve listed all of the strategies for the facts below. I’ve also listed them in my preferred order of teaching. Simply click on each strategy for a more detailed explanation of each one:
The 0’s Facts: Anything times 0 is 0.
The 1’s Facts: Anything times 1 is itself.
The 2’s Facts: Use the doubles addition facts (See a full explanation HERE)
The 5’s Facts: Use skip-counting OR multiply by 10 and divide in half (See a full explanation HERE)
The 10’s Facts: Increase the place values by one place OR just add a 0(See a full explanation HERE)
The 11’s Facts: The same number twice for facts 0-9; use a known fact for 10, 11, and 12 (See a full explanation HERE)
The 9’s Facts: the 10’s subtract one group OR the sum of the digits in the product equals 9 (See a full explanation HERE)
The 4’s Facts: The doubles’ doubles OR the double of the double (See a full explanation HERE)
The 3’s Facts: The double plus one more group (See a full explanation HERE)
The 6’s Facts: Use a known fact. (See a full explanation HERE)
The 7’s Facts: Use a known fact. (See a full explanation HERE)
The 8’s Facts: Use a known fact.(See a full explanation HERE)
The 12’s Facts: Break the 12 up into a 10 and a 2, and multiply in parts. Lastly, add the parts together. (See a full explanation HERE)
I’d love to provide you with more support for effective strategies for every single set of basic multiplication facts, as well as a suggested order that will make your teaching more effective and efficient.
Here’s that link to the free live webinar one more time! I’d love to have you join me!