The heady days of June have arrived, and summer vacation is just around the corner. Attention spans in the classroom are getting mighty short as thoughts wander to backyard barbecues, beach outings, and catching fireflies, not to mention ice cream!
Now is the time to liven up the last few days of math class with some seriously entertaining multiplication games. Using this monthıs article as a guide, all you need are a few manipulatives (dominoes, a calendar, fingers!) and youıre in business.
And speaking of ice cream, be sure to check out this monthıs email-only special on Didaxıs brand-new multiplication card game, ıProduct Parfait.ı Created by educator Lynn Salvo and tested extensively in her summer math camps, itıs a ıdeliciousı way for kids to bone up on their multiplication tables during the summer break. For even more fun, scroll down for links to downloadable pages from Didaxıs best-selling Dice Activities for Multiplication.
We all remember sitting in school chanting times tables on a sunny morning. The most successful approach to teaching multiplication tables is the use of a variety of strategies: counting, using concrete materials, identifying patterns, and discussing situations that require multiplication in everyday life. In this article we provide some activities that we hope will help students to internalize multiplication concepts.
The Multiplication Board
Introduce multiplication as repeated addition. Using a multiplication board, insert pegs so that the children can see, for example, two groups of four and also see that 4 + 4 is the same as two groups of four. Continue with further rows of pegs and allow the children to establish the relationship between groups of numbers and repeated addition.
Always refer to the commutative property of multiplication when teaching any multiplication fact: 6 x 4 = 4 x 6. Teach the various square numbers ? 2 x 2, 3 x 3, 4 x 4 ? as a single concept, using the multiplication board to show this in visual, concrete terms.
Clock Face 5s
Use an analog clock to help students make the connection with counting in fives.
Twice a Known Fact
If children don?t know the answer to 4 x 7, tell them to make four groups of seven with cubes, counters, or other materials. Guide them to rearrange the four groups of seven into two sets of 2 x 7 and draw their attention to the fact that, if they know two groups of seven, then four groups of seven is easy.
Pattern ? Calendar 7s
Use calendars to help students count in multiples of seven. Ask the children to find the seventh day of the current month and identify the day on which it falls. Ask: "What is the date one week later?" Encourage them to explore the calendar to find other number patterns.
Drill the multiples of a certain number up and down the multiples ladder. Use the calculator to drill, for example, the seven times table, by pressing 7 + = = = = = =, and so on. This will display the multiples of seven. However, before you use this activity with your class, make sure it works on your own calculator.
The 9s Finger Trick
Use fingers to teach the nine times table by having children place both hands on the table in front of them. Counting from the left, pick the multiple of nine you want to get the answer for and curl that finger under.
For example, to solve 7 x 9, the fingers to the left of the curled finger are tens, hence six tens (60), and the fingers to the right of the curled finger are units, hence three (3) units. The answer to 7 x 9 is, lo and behold, 63.
Another 9s Trick
Note that when the digits of the products in the nine times table are added, the result is always nine. For example, 9 x 4 = 36. If you add the digits in the product 36, 3 + 6 = 9. This works for any answer in the nine times table ? and only for nines.
Tried and Tested Times Table Games Buzz
This old game still works and requires no materials at all! Invite all the students to stand up. Identify the ?buzz? number, such as multiples of three. Now ask them, one by one, to start counting by ones. The first student starts at ?one,? the next student starts at ?two,? and so on. However, when a student is due to say ?three? or a multiple of three, the student says ?buzz? instead. If the student says ?three? or a multiple of three by mistake, he/she must sit down. The last child standing is the winner.
To dial up the fun with the buzz game, add additional buzz numbers; for example, children ?buzz? on both three and five and multiples of three and five. When there is a common multiple of both three and five ? 15, 30, 45, 60, and so forth ? they must say ?fuzz buzz? instead of ?buzz.? Again, the last child standing is the winner. This one takes some practice, but children really enjoy playing it.
?Four in a Row? Using Dominoes
You will need a set of 28 dominoes with all of the blanks removed (so there are only 21 tiles left), some counters, and a 6 x 6 grid with products of factors up to 6 x 6 marked randomly so that all squares of the grid have a product.
Place the dominoes face down on the table. Players take turns choosing a tile. The students then multiply the score of the two halves of the domino tile and place the counter on the resulting product on the square grid. For example, a double four-dot domino tile means 16 is covered; a two-dot and five-dot tile means 10 is covered. The first student to connect four numbers in a row vertically, horizontally, or diagonally wins.
Extended Four-in-a-Row Game
The dominoes used in the last game are referred to as double-six dominoes, since the highest domino in the set is the double-six tile. This covers the times tables from one to six. To cover the times tables from seven to nine, double-nine dominoes can be purchased. A new 9 x 9 grid showing the products for all the relevant multiples can be constructed.
Mental Math Board
Draw a 3 x 3 grid on the chalkboard or whiteboard, writing a number in each square of the grid (any number can be used). Use the grid to ask the following questions.
Multiply each number on the board by 10. Is there a quick way to multiply by 10?
Four (for example) is a square number. Are there any other square numbers on the board?
What two numbers on the board have a product of 24? Are there any others?
How many sevens are there in 28? (if 28 is one of the numbers in the grid)
If you divide 16 by three, what is the remainder? (if 16 is one of the numbers in the grid)
The product is 24 and one factor is eight. What is the other factor?
Halve each number in the grid.
Double each number in the grid.
How many multiples of four can you find?
This is a very flexible game and can be adapted to include all children by differentiating the questions.
With a few manipulatives on hand and some easily constructed grids, students in class or children at home can have hours of fun learning their multiplication tables!
[Reprinted from Class Ideas, Term 2, 2008, Issue #45. Original article reprinted by Class Ideas from In Touch magazine with kind permission.]
When it comes to learning multiplication tables, dice games are unmatched for sheer fun and instructive power. Download these pages from Dice Activities for Multiplication, the latest book from the veteran teachers of the Math of Course group. Whether kids are competing against each other in "Four in a Row," "Cross Over," or another challenging game, strategy and multplication facts are king!
Have fun with these research-based, standards-aligned, and totally cool multiplication games on the Web. Or use these sites as a portal to an even greater number of academically sound, interactive math games.
Learning how to solve word problems is one of the most challenging tasks in the math classroom, and the back-to-school issue of Class Ideas tackles this topic head on. We'll also be introducing Didax's new Math Problem-Solving Skills series with a super back-to-school special, so don't miss this important issue in September. And be sure to watch your inbox for our blockbuster mid-summer sale in August. In the meantime, have a great summer!