4 Tools for Teaching Times Tables at Home ~
Written by Melissa Camara Wilkins
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There are so many ways to learn the concept of times tables/multiplication facts—maybe you’ll share your favorite methods with us in the comments?! But no matter how you learn, at some point you just want to know that 6 x 7 is 42.
It’s always the sixes, sevens, and eights that give us trouble around here!
And I know, I know, my nine-year-old doesn’t mind figuring out what 8 x 4 is every time. She’s willing to add it up, or to count by fours, or to use a model to work it out. She doesn’t really care about memorization at all.
But I also know that one day, eventually, she’s going to want to work with quadratic equations or find the sum of a geometric series. (Ah, the joys of high school math!) Having multiplication facts at her fingertips then will make life infinitely easier.
Here’s what we’re using to help teach times tables in the meantime:
1. Multiplication By Heart Flash Cards
These aren’t your ordinary flash cards. For one thing, these show times tables math facts visually (afflinks), not only as equations.
And for another, these include a method for moving through the cards in an order that helps kids practice just the facts they don’t know until they stick. It’s a clever system, and pretty painless.
The only trouble with these is that each set is intended for just one kid to use at a time—all the way from beginning to mastery. For more than one kid to use them, you would need more than one set.
2. Prime Climb Board Game
I probably looked at this math game one zillion times before bringing it home. If I understood how helpful it was going to be for teaching times tables, I would have gone for it much sooner.
Most math games seem to throw in multiplication facts as the boring thing you have to do in order to get through the game, sort of the eat-your-broccoli-before-dessert method.
But in Prime Climb, the math is built into the strategy of the game, and color-coding helps to guide younger kids who don’t yet know their math facts. And… it’s actually fun. Surprise!
My nine-year-old and twelve-year-old are super into games, so finally trying this one out was a big win.
3. Schoolhouse Rock Videos
These song-and-cartoon videos were made in the early 1970s, so you might find their style and content a bit… dated?
But the songs themselves are catchy and they’re streaming on Disney+ right now, so if you already have a subscription, this won’t cost you anything extra to try. You can find several on YouTube as well!
4. Multiplication Nation Audio
One of my kids learns best by listening rather than by reading and writing. For kids like that, the Multiplication Nation album from The Rappin’ Mathematician is terrific—the songs are easy to remember, and the sound is more current than the Schoolhouse Rock options.
We listen through our Apple Music subscription, so again, this doesn’t cost us anything extra to try.
Multiplication is not always the most enjoyable subject to learn or teach. I hope that these resources make it a little more fun for you and your family.
If you know of any other helpful resources, please share in the comments below!
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