Dr. Foss: What are you in for?
Parent/any teacher 4th grade and up: My child/student can’t memorize their times tables.
QUICK! 7 x 8 = ?
What just went through your head? Did you know the answer right away? If so, how? Did you “just know it” or did you have to do some type or calculation in your head or on your fingers?
Maybe your brain shut down or you broke into a sweat. If so, you aren’t alone.
Do you remember “learning” your multiplication facts? Which ones were easy to remember? Why? Which were harder to remember? Why? My guess is x2 and x5 were easy and x7 was more difficult.
Ready to get your mind blown?
7 is the SAME and 2 + 5.
Why does that matter?
Well, if you were a kid struggling to learn their “7s” you could just use your “2s” and “5s”.
Back to 7 x 8… if you broke out into a sweat over this one just think of the 7 as a 2 and 5.
Do you know 2 x 8 easily? What about 5 x 8?
2 x 8 = 16
5 x 8 = 40
Soooo….. do you see where this is going?
7 x 8 is the SAME as 2 x 8 and 5 x 8 together (16 + 40)
When I started teaching I wanted to teach 1st or 2nd grade because I was afraid of math. If I didn’t understand it how was I supposed to teach it?
Well, let me tell you, when I started reading through my teacher’s edition I was PISSED. You mean to tell me that NO ONE ever thought to tell me that multiplication can be thought of as ADDING equal groups? That information would have been helpful while I was sitting at the kitchen counter crying over my math homework.
I was never taught what multiplication LOOKED like. Had I known that 3 x 4 means “three groups of four” it probably would have made more sense to me.
When you say “three TIMES four” what do you see in your head? The numbers?
When you say “three GROUPS OF four” what do you see in your head? Something like this?
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Make. Math. Visual.
That is all.