Mastering multiplication is a critical milestone for every child, but getting a child to learn 144 new equations can seem daunting. Don’t worry. We’ve collected a great set of resources to make teaching multiplication easy and fun.
Note: Make sure your child has proficiency in addition before attempting to learn multiplication. If they can’t answer “What’s 8 + 8?” from memory quickly, then have them develop addition proficiency first. We recommend using Math Ace 1st Grade for iPad or iPhone.
1. Introduce multiplication as repeated addition
Before students can master the multiplication tables, they need a solid understanding of what exactly multiplication is. Teach multiplication by first showing your child this short overview video explaining how multiplication is the same as repeated addition:
2. Fill out a printed multiplication table
A great way for kids to familiarize themselves with multiplication is for them to fill out a printed multiplication table by themselves. If a child is able to step count (going 2, 4, 6, 8, etc..), they can fill in adjacent squares in the table simply by counting.
Show your child how to fill in a few squares, and give them space to fill in the rest. Download a free Multiplication Table PDF here to get started:
3. Practice “Mad Minutes”
Mad Minutes bring lots of excitement to multiplication mastery, but they do require parent or tutor attention. If you’re short on time, skip to #4.
To set up a “Mad Minute”, get out a piece of paper and write 10 different multiplication problems on it. Start with the easiest problems like 1×2. Then set a 1 minute timer with your phone. Tell your child if they get all of the questions correct within 1 minute they get a treat. Then start the timer and have them answer all of the questions. “Mad Minutes” turn math practice into a game.
An example of a Mad minute for learning 6’s is below.
Watch to see if your child is counting with their fingers or getting hung up on any question. After the minute is over, grade the paper. Copy over any question they got wrong or took a long time on over to the next “Mad Minute” worksheet. Keeping doing “Mad Minutes” until all of the multiplication tables are mastered, which may take a few sittings.
Below is an example of a Mad Minute Annie Gama did with her son to practice “Adding 8’s”. As you can see, you can actually make “Mad Minutes” for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. The technique is effective for all.
4. Use the Math Ace 3rd Grade App
Math Ace was founded by a parent who got so tired writing and grading “Mad Minutes” that he actually built an app to do it for him. Now every child can practice Mad Minutes without parent or teacher attention.
Here’s how it works. Download Math Ace 3rd Grade for iPhone or iPad. The app contains… you guessed it: hundreds of one-minute math challenges, covering Common Core math standards. Have your child start with “Multiplying 0, 1, 2, and 3’s”, the first challenge in the list, and work their way down.
Students have one minute to answer as many questions as they can in order to earn a bronze, silver, or gold medal. Gold medals mean the student has proficiency over the skill.
Math Ace automatically adapts the sequence of questions to maximize learning, something paper worksheets can’t do. When students get questions wrong, or get hung up, those questions are repeated at ideal times to improve retention.
Unlike “Mad Minutes”, Math Ace requires no parent supervision. Kids are rewarded for doing math with turns in a jetpack free-play game. The more medals they earn, the higher they can fly into space. Parents can easily track their child’s progress by looking at their list of medals, and setting medal milestones.
We recommend 10 minutes of Math Ace a day for any child who has not yet mastered the Common Core math standards. Math Ace is free for 7 days, and $19.99 for 3 months after that, worth it given the convenience of the tool.
5. Learn shortcuts and multiplication strategies
Help your children develop more intuition around multiplication and reduce how much they need to memorize by watching this great multiplication video covering multiplication strategies:
Sometimes simply curating the best content for our children is better than reinventing the wheel.
6. Practice with Flashcards
Add more variety to your Math Practice with a deck of multiplication flashcards. Each flashcard has a question on one side, and the answer on the other. Grab a good flashcard deck on Amazon for pretty cheap:
7. Play Multiplication War
Multiplication War is like the classic “War” card game, except each of the 52 cards in the deck has a multiplication problem on it. Your child and a friend can play together, each flipping over cards and solving them. The player with the highest card value wins both cards.
This card game is both fun and motivating, and helps students deepen their understanding and reasoning. Get Math War on Amazon:
If you already have a deck of cards handy, you can also use that instead. Just have each player flip 2 cards and multiply. The highest product keeps all 4 cards. Ace equals 1. Jack equals 10. Queen equals 11. And King equals 12.
We hope the 7 resources above proved useful for teaching multiplication. Let us know how it goes. Follow us on twitter: @SmartParentBlog