Multiplication Doesn’t Have to be Repetitious!
Our brains are like computers in the sense that some things that we put in them stay there for years. Multiplication facts are like that—information that you will use for the rest of your life. This is why mastering the multiplication facts early is a critical building block for many other math applications in life.
As teachers, we can become a little lazy in practicing the multiplication tables, so using fun, hands-on games can be a lifesaver for math instruction. Our students need math skills to apply to most any career choice, not to mention higher level math in high school and college.
Use these jobs as a way to show your students that multiplication is necessary to real life.
- Photography: A photographer needs to understand angles, perspective, distance and resizing to be excellent at taking pictures.
- Travel Consultant: As a travel advisor, you must work out arrival and departure times, money exchange calculations, and distance calculations.
- Architect: Most of what an architect uses on a daily basis for designing things and calculating dimensions is addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
- Chef: Chefs all over the world must multiply to produce mouth-watering pastries and delicious meals.
- Automotive technician: Anyone who does car repairs knows that the ability to use math, and specifically multiplication, is essential to replacing an engine, measuring for a new gearbox, or calculating how much transmission fluid is needed.
Now that it is clear that multiplying confidently is a skill everyone needs, use these enjoyable games for math reinforcement:
- There are many Multiplication Songs that can be found on the internet. Singing along, this is a great way to reinforce what the students are learning visually.
- com has many free games that are fun and reinforce the multiplication facts.
- SushiMonster is a great math app to practice multiplying and could be added to tablets for reinforcement each day.
- Here is an I Spy free printable game for practice.
- Even when using math multiplication worksheets, have a race to see who finishes with a prize at the end.
- You can use skittles, goldfish, or any other small candy to play Bingo.
Searching for games and creative ways to move beyond simply reciting multiplication facts over and over helps to cement the concepts in their brains. Using all of the learning modalities to reinforce the facts teaches each student in the way he/she learns best.
Lydia Colgan, a math professor at Queens University, says, “Being able to recall basic facts efficiently is a necessary first step in the development of more advanced skills for computational fluency with larger numbers and algebraic expressions.” She goes on to say that children as young as kindergarten can begin learning that multiplication is just repeated addition, only faster, through the use of games.
The more time a student spends just trying to calculate can use up a disproportionate amount of time for a test or other evaluation. It may seem archaic in the age of calculators and computers to teach basic multiplication facts and skills, but helping our students achieve automaticity and fluency produces long-term memory with very little effort.