Teaching Tips

A Better Way to Teach Multiplication Tables to Children

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Multiplication tables haunt every child. Remember how many hours were spent learning them by heart? It doesn’t have to be the same for your children. When they begin to learn the multiplication tables, encourage them to first learn the basics.

These basics will not give any shortcuts, but will give them the confidence to indulge more in multiplication tables. They will also convince your child that learning multiplication tables can be easy, intuitive and fun.

Memorising can’t be avoided altogether because it helps in building speed. Memorising the tables also paves neural pathways for quick mental math.

Here are a few basics that your child should know before learning the multiplication tables:

  • Show them that multiplication is repeated additionBody-Images_1

7 x 1 means 7 times 1, or 1 added 7 times.
Similarly, 7 x (any number) means 7 times that number or that number added 7 times.
Ask if they notice a pattern in the rightmost column. In the number series, every successive number is 7 more than the previous number.
This helps them understand the pattern before learning to recite the table.

  • Demonstrate with the pictorial representation of a multiplication table


While reciting tables, the numbers seem too abstract. 7 twos are 14 while 2 sevens are also 14. The answers may be the same but essentially the representation is different. If your students are able to visualise and compare the quantities they will see a pattern and know the difference. 

Once your child understands these basics and knows what they are doing, challenge them to do it faster. Encourage them to consciously say 2 ones are 2 instead of the conventional and more convenient “2 one za 2”.

Now keeping aside the basics, here are a few multiplication hacks:

  1. Let’s say you ask your child to recite the table of 16.
    16 is nothing but 10+6
    16×1=(10+6)x1= 10+6=16
    16×2=(10+6)x2= 20+12=32
    16×3=(10+6)x3= 30+18=48
    16×4=(10+6)x4= 40+24=64, and so on.

    Such hacks easily work when you can breakdown the number into multiples of 10.

    Similarly 97×8, can be thought of as (100-3)x8= 800-24= 776
  2. An easy way to learn the multiplication table of 9
    9×1= 09
    9×2= 18
    9×3= 27
    9×4= 36
    9×5= 45
    The digit in the tens’ place increases by 1. Simultaneously, the digit in the ones’ place reduces by 1. Now to move forward, keep reversing the digits to complete the table till 10.

    9×6= 54 (reversing 45)
    9×7= 63 (reversing 36)
    9×8= 72 (reversing 27)
    9×9= 81 (reversing 18)
    9×10= 90 (reversing 09)
  3. Multiplication table of 11
    11×1= 11
    11×2= 22
    11×3= 33
    11×4 = 44, and so on..
    This works perfectly till 11×9.

Once your children learn the basics, notice the patterns and understand the rationale behind multiplication tables, they will be encouraged to discover more such hacks. Good luck with tables

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Aishwarya Sinha Ray

Aishwarya is a math expert and works with the Curriculum team at Cuemath. She believes in bringing out the "why" of every simple mathematical concept that we have learnt. Her articles focus on basic math and she makes them interesting by including simple puzzles and fun facts. Follow her articles to understand how passionate she is about making math interesting for us.