At first, learning the times tables can be challenging, but your students can learn strategies for memorizing multiplication math facts. To help your students, make sure they understand the concept of multiplication before they memorize the math facts. Find or create a multiplication grid to help with daily practice. Look for patterns, make flashcards and discover tricks that can help your students learn the times tables. Ask them to practice at home as well as in school for additional reinforcement.
Look for Visual Patterns
Studying a multiplication grid is the first step toward becoming familiar with the times tables. Find one in a math book or online, or create your own. Look for patterns in the rows and columns. For instance, every other row and column consists of even numbers. The first row and column each count up by ones and the last row all have numbers ending in a 0.
Look for reverse fact patterns. For instance 3 x 4 = 12 and 4 x 3 = 12. The more students study the multiplication grid, the more familiar the multiplication answers will become.
Use Counting Patterns
Counting patterns can help students learn their times tables rapidly. Skip counting is also helpful, such as counting by twos, fives or 10s. For example, if you are counting by fives, you would say: 5, 10, 15, 20. If a student can count by a certain number, he essentially already knows the answers to that times table. Students should start by learning to count by twos, fives and tens. As they become more advanced, they can learn to count by the other numbers.
Practice With Flashcards
Study the times tables one at a time. Make flashcards for that specific times table. Put the factors on the front of the flashcard and the answers on the back. For instance, if you are studying the 2 times table, one card might have 2 x 2 on the front and a 4 on the back. You can use the flashcards to test yourself or to test someone else. The more you use flashcards, the faster you will be able to memorize the times tables.
After moving on to a new times table, go back and review sets of flashcards you have already mastered to retain the information. Parents and teachers can use incentive programs for encouragement. A child could earn a sticker on a chart after mastering each set of flashcards -- and once the chart is filled with stickers -- he could receive a prize or privilege. Flashcards can also be a useful method to study pop quizzes or tests.
Learn the Tricks
Teach your students tricks to help them learn specific times tables faster.
In the 9 times table, the numbers in the answer column add up to nine. For example, 2 x 9 = 18 (1 + 8 = 9), 3 x 9 = 27 (2 + 7 = 9) and 4 x 9 = 36 (3 + 6 = 9).
In the 11 times table, the answers all consist of duplicate digits. For example, 2 x 11 = 22 and 3 x 11 = 33.
In the 10 times table, 10 times a number equals that number with a 0 after it. For example, (10 x 1 = 10, 10 x 2 = 20, 10 x 3 = 30).
About the Author
Rachel Pancare taught elementary school for seven years before moving into the K-12 publishing industry. Pancare holds a Master of Science in childhood education from Bank Street College and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Skidmore College.