Learning Math Facts

i’m sitting here listening to my kid work on her 7 and 8 multiplication table facts and I just realized that it’s pretty hard. I obviously know them from 7x0 to 8x12, but I don’t really know how to explain to my kid how to do them other than memorization. When is the last time in my life that I’ve been asked to memorize that much stuff?

Some are easy, like the 0’s, 1’s, 2’s, 5’s, 10’s, and 11’s. There is also the neat little finger trick for the 9’s, making that one a breeze at least up to 9x10. But I don’t know any tricks for 3’s, 4’s, 6’s, 7’s, or 8’s. 12’s are particularly hard for me, because I see absolutely no value in learning the 12’s times table. Once you’re above 10, you can use a calculator in my opinion.

The teacher has shown them some strategies like, “Use what you know and add/subtract from it to get another one.” There’s probably a term for that in her home links, but I don’t know it. For instance, she knows 7x6=42, so on 7x7, she just adds another 7. I have no issue with doing it this way, but I hope she can get it done in time on her tests or she’ll be disappointed.

I guess there are college kids trying to memorize the Periodic Table, since I can’t see any other way to “learn” it. I didn’t take Chemistry. There are others trying to memorize the table of integrals in the back of the Calculus book, but I’m fortunate to have had professors who thought that was stupid and let us use a printout of the table on our exams. Anyone know other examples where students have to just commit something to memory like these?

Written on April 13, 2016