Monday, September 20, 2021

How to Teach the Times Tables So ALL Students Can Succeed

Victoria Leon

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Victoria-Leon 


I have always taught the times tables on the second day of the new school year.  If you go along with the textbooks’ usual sequence of teaching numeration first…then addition…followed by subtraction…you will FINALLY get to the multiplication unit in Chapter 4.  The disadvantage of following the scope and sequence of the textbook is that your students will now lose valuable months that they could have spent playing multiplication games to help them memorize their multiplication facts.


What Order Should You Teach the Times Tables?

I teach the multiplication facts in this order: twos, threes, fours, fives, sixes, sevens, eights, nines, tens, and then the zeros and ones at the end.  By going in order and beginning with the two times tables, my students are able to see for themselves how multiplication is just repeated addition of the same numbers.  However, it is only after they have drawn the pictures of the groups of twos, threes, fours, etc., that they are truly able to appreciate the drawings that show the concept of the multiplication facts for zeros and ones.


How to Teach the Concept of Multiplication Using Pictures:

I hope to create a video that will show teachers all of the steps that I use to teach the concept of multiplication.  Until then, below is an abbreviated version of how to teach the times tables using pictures so that students may understand the concept of multiplication.  

Teacher:  We are going to learn the Two Tables today.  (Write 3 X 2 =  on the board.)  Three times two means that there are three groups of two things.  (Write 3 groups of 2 =   on the board.)


Teacher:  In this case, my two things are two sticks in the first group.  (Draw two sticks and sweep your hand from left to right.)



Teacher:  I need to have three groups of two for 3 X 2, so how many sticks will I need for the second group?

Student 1:  You will need two more sticks.

Teacher:  Yes, I will need two more sticks for these one and two groups.  (Put two sticks below the first two sticks and sweep hands from left to right to show the two groups.)

Teacher:  But in 3 X 2 I will need three groups of two things.  How many more sticks will I need?

Student 2:  You will need two more sticks.

Teacher:  Yes, I will need two more sticks.  I now have one, two, three groups of these two sticks…and these two sticks…and these two sticks… (Put two sticks below the other sticks and sweep hands from left to right to show the three groups.)

Teacher:  Does anyone know what 3 times 2 equals?

Student 3: 3 X 2 = 6

Teacher:  You are right.  There are 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 sticks.  (Point to each of the sticks.  Then draw a line under the sticks and write a 6 below the line.)


Teacher:  I have one, two, three groups of two sticks…and two more sticks…and two more sticks… 3 X 2 = 6 because 3 groups of 2 sticks equal 6 sticks.  (Put a 6 in your original problems on the board so it states that 3 X 2 = 6 and that 3 groups of 2 = 6.)

Teacher:  Multiplication is just a way to keep adding the same number over and over again by that many groups.  How many sticks do I have in the first group?

Student 4:  You have 2 sticks.

Teacher:  I have one, two sticks in the first group, so I am going to go straight across and write the number 2.  (Write the number 2 next to the first group.)  


Teacher:  How many sticks do I have in the second group?

Student 5:  You have 2 more sticks.

Teacher:  I have one, two sticks in the second group, so I am going to go straight across and write the number 2.  (Write a number 2 next to the second group.)

Teacher:  In 3 X 2, I need 3 groups of 2.  How many sticks do I need for the third group?

Student 6:  You need 2 more sticks.  

Teacher:  Yes, I have 2 sticks in the first group, 2 sticks in the second group, and now I have 2 sticks in the third group.  (Write a number 2 next to the third group.)

Teacher:  Multiplication is just adding the same number over and over again by the number of groups that you are working with.  Does anyone know what 2 plus 2 plus 2 equals?  (Write a plus sign and draw a line under the 2, 2, and 2.)  

Student 7:  The answer is 6.

Teacher:  You are correct.  2 + 2 + 2 = 6.  (Write a 6 under the 2 + 2 + 2.)

Teacher:  What is the answer to 3 X 2 = _____?

Student 8:  3 X 2 = 6.

Teacher:  Perfect.  3 X 2 = 6...   3 groups of 2 = 6...  You have 2 sticks in one group, 2 sticks in 2 groups, and 2 sticks in 3 groups...  It equals 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 sticks...  There are 2 sticks in the first group, 2 sticks in the second group, and 2 sticks in the third group...  Multiplication is just adding the same number 2 again and again and again...  2 + 2 + 2 = 6...  3 X 2 = 6...  (Point to each section as you review the problem.)

I repeat this process with the three times tables, four times tables, etc.  The first couple of days are difficult, but one by one, more students begin to understand the concept of what multiplication truly means.   

Find out how to teach the zero and one times tables:


If your students take the time to draw the pictures and add the numbers for all of the practice problems, they will be able to draw the pictures for the multiplication facts for zero and one. 


I am so close to completing my TpT product, Teach Times Tables With Pictures to Understand the Concept - Lessons & Posters.  It contains step-by-step directions on how to teach the times tables...including the zero and one times tables.  It also contains posters for each of the multiplication facts which includes _____ groups of _____ = _____, the multiplication fact using sticks, and the repeated addition.  


Go to http://eepurl.com/hF4MTT and join my email list so that you will be notified when these multiplication lessons are posted at TpT.  


Follow my Teachers Pay Teachers store at https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Victoria-Leon.  All of my new products are 50% off for the first three days once it is posted on TpT. 


My math strategies are not found in the normal teacher’s guide, but they get results:


I am excited to teach multiplication to my Special Ed 3rd graders in a way they can understand and do it right away.


-Jennifer Timmons


Ms. Leon’s techniques provide students with a deep fundamental understanding of basic math principles.  This thorough comprehension will set the foundation for learning math to solve real-life problems in advanced math.

-Keith Holland

Teach the children the concept, they will get the abstract.


-Victor Altamirano


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