Sunday, October 19, 2014

The burden of Multiplication

Probably the most challenging aspect of Math for many students is learning the Multiplication Tables.  I learned my tables in Grade 4 and never forgot them.  It seems as though students do not know their tables.

According to an article I read online on The Telegraph from the UK, former Schools Minister, Nick Gibb, commented that students had to learn Math in the same way they would have to learn to play the piano:  "with repeated practise and committing methods to their long-term memory. " 

We have been working on Fractions in class and to move to the next level will require the students to develop their skills and confidence with learning the multiplication table.  I am going to post some links to places that may assist the students in Room 52 to learn their tables.  There are a number of games, I am sure, to be played online that relate to multiplying, but I believe it is key to learn the tables first and then to play.  No amount of playing will assist in the memorization and understanding of how multiplying works.

The first link relates to a school in British Columbia that posted a section of the JUMP Mathematics workbook that details how a student could learn his or her tables.

The other site is a graphic friendly tutorial:

 I suppose it is possible to do this work using a calculator and I will have to proceed that way if  learning the tables becomes a hindrance.  In many ways, though, knowing the facts by memory will be quicker and neater than using a calculator, especially when it comes to understanding Improper Fractions and Mixed Numbers.

Consider the following images:

In Example 2, using a calculator would produce a decimal answer, which is still correct, but would not help in understanding how a Mixed Number looks as a whole number with a fraction.

I do not profess to be the expert on this matter that causes so many people, parents included, anxiety.  This is just my two cents and a gut feeling that knowing how to multiply is a key foundation to any future endeavors in Mathematics.  

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