Basic Math Facts (Multiplication, etc)What are your thoughts on the best way to teach math facts (multiplication, etc.) in order to ensure retention through the secondary years (and...

Basic Math Facts (Multiplication, etc)

What are your thoughts on the best way to teach math facts (multiplication, etc.) in order to ensure retention through the secondary years (and post-secondary)? What methods are now being used the most by our elementary schools and are they effective? 

Asked on by job518

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dastice's profile pic

dastice | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted on

When they are initially taught, I think it is important for students to understand the processes involved.  This is the time to introduce fact families, using 10 to add 9, etc.  Beyond that, I think drills are the best way to get the facts to stick.  Daily timed tests are a good way to get students to master them.

You might also consider touch math.  I learned this in elementary school and still use it today.

hala718's profile pic

hala718 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

For multiplication  at least to 9*9, it is better to just memorize them. Of course at first it will seem difficult to memorize and you may be looking for another way to obtain answers, but on the long run and by using them over and and over again, they will be stored in their long term memory. Just like we learned multiplication in school. However, there are some students use other methods to calculate in their brains and those who we call gifted and talented, and if you are trying to explain the same method and for regular students they will get more confused. So, you better off tell them to memorize them.

job518's profile pic

job518 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

My feeling is that everyone learns differently.  Some use memorization, others use tricks such myltiplying by 9 etc.  I learned math facts in the 50's and 60's and was basically forced to memorize using flash cards etc.  I think this is still one of the most viable methods to use.

Same here, although I was in school in the 80s. It seems like down here in the South, the "new" thing is fact families, I believe, and seems very confusing. It attempts to show relationships among numbers, but I think they need to know what the process is before they try to understand the relationships among various groups of numbers. 

job518's profile pic

job518 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

I agree that fact memorization seems to be the easiest way to learn multiplication. I also think that writing them over and over, as I did, creates the opportunity to realize that multiplication is simply repeating addition. I feel like our students today are missing out on the whole concept of basic math and arithmetic. I have seniors that can't tell you what 13 *4 is...with  out a calculator. It is simply because they never memorized or learned the multiplication facts. If they know 12*4, then 13*4 is just as easy and quick. At this rate, it will take forever to finish a standardized test and many students will not apply themselves completely because they get tired after an hour or so. I try to explain to my students that if they "just know" certain things and they don't spend so much time on the little things, then they will do better on the big picture. Maybe word problems would not be so hard if you knew the definitions and could do the arithmetic.  

lrwilliams's profile pic

lrwilliams | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

I feel that multiplication is mostly memorization of the facts. I also think that for students to be able to apply these facts in more advanced Math classes at the Secondary level they need to understand the process of multiplication as well as memorization of the basic facts.

cad52's profile pic

cad52 | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

My feeling is that everyone learns differently.  Some use memorization, others use tricks such myltiplying by 9 etc.  I learned math facts in the 50's and 60's and was basically forced to memorize using flash cards etc.  I think this is still one of the most viable methods to use.

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