Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tips for Memorizing the Multiplication Table

Do you like Mathematics when you were a young student? It is still one of the most important subjects that children should learn in school.  I noticed that when my children were in Grade 1, they were already taught the principle behind multiplication and were asked to memorize the multiplication table from 1-5. By Grades 3-4, they should have memorized pretty well the multiplication table from 1-10.

Mathematics. Image by aleksandar milosevic
As a mom, I have experienced that my children would complain that it is difficult to memorize these Math facts. Let me share how I encourage them to memorize the multiplication table.

Tip #1: I would teach to them to count multiples in their head 2, 4, 6 ....adding to the last number by 2 mentally, for example. But I would tell them to say 2 x 1 = 2, 2 x 2 = 4, 2 x 3 =6 and so on. Otherwise, they might remember the multiples but not the multiplication question.

Tip #2: Another technique is as they say the multiples, they use their fingers to count. For example, when they say 2, they lift the pinky finger (starting from a fist); when they say 4, they now have 2 fingers lifted; when they say 6, they now have 3 fingers lifted. This way they remember that on the number 6, they are multiplying 2 x 3.

But when it reaches the multiples of 6-9, that is usually where it is the hardest. It becomes more difficult to add big numbers. One of my sons, Yuan, told me the other day, that he thought of a technique how he could memorize the multiples of 9 easily. I actually never thought of it that way. So the next tip originated from him.

Tip #3: He said, to find the multiples of 9, he subtracts (minus) 1 in the ones digit and adds (plus) 1 in the tens digit. So from 9, the next multiple is 9-1 = 8 in the ones digit and 0 +1 = 1 in the tens digit which makes 18. Then, 8 - 1 = 7 in the ones digit and 1 + 1 = 2 in the tens digit which makes 27 and so on. From that idea, to find the multiples of 8, minus 2 in the ones digit and plus 1 in the tens digit.  To find multiples of 7, minus 3 in the ones digit and plus 1 in the tens digit.

Tip #4. I always tell them repetition is the key. If they don't get it the first time, they would get it after how many times. This develops also their patience. Once they have finally memorized the multiplication table, I hear them saying "Ang dali lang" (It's so easy), especially when the next sibling is complaining about the same thing.

Tip #5. Be there to hear them memorize if they ask for your help. Or, you may ask a sibling to listen to them as they memorize. This way, the other sibling is taught to help their brothers or sisters when studying.

Here's a video about using the Fingers for learning how to multiply by 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9. My husband knew about this technique and told it to my children. It could help though memorizing the multiplication table is still by far the fastest.

Sometimes, learning through games and song can also be helpful. is a site which offers learning to read curriculum online for free. Now they also have a Math curriculum at but it's not for free. They have some sample lessons for free though and they look really great.  There's also plenty to find in YouTube.

I hope this post was helpful to you who have children learning the multiplication table.


Chris said...

thanks for the tips.. my daughter is about to study the multiplication table :)

Chin chin said...

Thank you Chris for dropping by. I hope your daughter will learn her multiplication real easy.

teecup said...

Somehow I never managed to learn how to multiply using my fingers as a guide. I preferred to parrot what my math teacher would say (tee hee hee).

Eric : Manila Blog said...

I have the same technique like your son Yuan. and this is what I'm telling my 2 kids too!

reese said...

waaaaaah! sana natutunan ko ito noong nag-aaral pa ako...ayoko ng multiplication or anything math eh hahaha

Chin chin said...

Teecup, that's ok if you have a very powerful memory.

Eric, it's good your kids have a father who's teaching them his own techniques.

Rovie said...

math? yan ang pinaka ayaw ko... hehehe... kaya nga siguro na imbento ang calculator para sa mga kagaya ko.. hehehe...

thanks for sharing anyway... i'll let my nephew read this and watch the video... he is in grade 5 and somehow weakness din ang mathematics..