Today I was searching online for ways to make learning multiplication tables a bit easier. I come from the school of thought that there’s just one way to learn them, and that is plain ol’ memorization. I also like the TPR approach to things (total physical response) which means trying to involve all 5 senses into the learning. It is primarily used for language learning, but it works great for mathematics because math is very similar to language.
Using TPR to memorize multiplication facts? Yup.
My favorite way to learn to memorize stuff is using flash cards. They are great little tools for all sorts of things, such as multiplication of course, but you can even use them to learn neat stuff, like economics vocabulary words, and the hebrew alphabet! It doesn’t matter so much where the flash cards come from: you can make them by hand using magic markers and index cards, or you can print out free flash cards online and glue them to index cards. Either way, this method incorporates TPR in that you are using your hands and mind to build a tool to help you learn. You can also go to the store and buy flash cards, of course, but you just don’t get as much TPR out of it then.
By the way, if you haven’t noticed yet, the phrase TPR is old school. Nowadays, they changed it to a more new agey term: holistic. But I think holistic is very vague, whereas TPR is pretty clear.
I just found a neat site with free printable flash cards and just printed up a batch for one of my daughters. Here’s the link: Flashcards to Teach the Times Tables http://bit.ly/qmnf1m
Multiplication must be seen AND heard
I am also a firm believer in speaking math out loud. Something cool happens in your brain when it hears your own voice iterate facts. So, encourage your children to read the mutiplication facts out loud.
Better yet, get them a CD or DVD of School House Rock’s mathematics songs – they have all the multiplication tables and the songs are great. You might be able to find this at your local library.
I remember when I was a youngster it was always fun to sit around with my brothers and see who could say all the times tables faster. It was challenging, and fun, and always left us out of breath. But, we learned them!
Multiplication games – sort of hands-on
I am not a big proponent of video games, so I don’t recommend sticking a disc in the computer so your child can destroy alien invaders with math operations on them. But, I did find an electronic game that is fun and challenging for children, with minimal visuals. They are a series of devices that Leap Frog manufactured in the 00’s called Twist & Shout, Turbo Twist & Turbo Extreme by Leap Frog. They can all be found on eBay now for really good used prices. I bought a bunch for our children and we let them play with them in the car, or during their free time. It’s a neat way to teach math and entertain during non-school hours.
I am always looking for good ideas to help our children accomplish their learning in a fun and meaningful way. Please share with us any successful methods you’ve used to help your children learn multiplication.