When November was at this stage, she looooooved memorising - and I felt I had to prise her little fingers off the pencil and urge her to play with blocks and MABs, coins and beads and buttons to build arrays and to have some "hands on" creative living maths. Whether she wanted it or not! he-he
So here is how we have been approaching multiplication in our homeschool for the second time...or is that times 2?
Start with the oral, and aural
Skip counting aloud is a great game for even tiny children.
Once they are curious about pairs of objects (shoes, socks, hands, feet, you get the idea) start counting! This is the foundation of multiplication...it may seem like you are just adding 2, 3, 4, etc in effect you are teaching the product of two numbers.
2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18 and on it goes. Most children love this kind of pattern and once you let them in on the "secret code" a very young child will love to work their way up through the number patterns.
Counting by 2? Whisper 1, loudly say 2, whisper 3, loudly say 4, whisper 5, loudly say 6....
Counting by 3? Whisper 1, whisper 2, loudly say 3, whisper 4, whisper 5, loudly say 6, whisper 7, whisper 8, loudly say 9....and you get the idea.
Hands on help from "The Toymaker"
We made up the brownie skip counter (see above) and laminated the strips for durability.
Once mastered, we moved onto the multi-pies. The Toymaker's sheets only go to 6x, so once these were covered, I printed out another set, and made up from 7x through to 12x on labels over the original numbers 1-6 and joined them. Your student holds them in their hands, thumb covering the answer, and moves around the edge of the multi-pie. Beautiful and kinaesthetic.
Practice the physical, build those pathways
Skip counting works nicely with jumping on the trampoline, bouncing a ball, even on a number line drawn with chalk.
Build arrays - arrangements of equal sets. This is essential in teaching the relationship between multiplication and division. This photo shows July making up sets to 12: 2 x 6, 3 x 4, 4 x 3. Of course, once made up, you can go backward to show 12 divided by 6 = 2, 12 divided by 3 = 4 etc.
Our girls loved this "playing" with objects. Try pebbles, seeds, lego blocks, eyes, sparkles...Good maths is about working with the feel of a number, not an intellectual idea of a number. That is why physical is good.
Utilise the rocky fun of Multiplication Rock from Schoolhouse Rock on youtube. Adding a tune always seems to add memorisation.
Use a hundreds chart to count through in skips.
Make a blank 10 x 10 table (or 12 x 12 is even better) and work through breaking down each row. This is a great confidence builder as it teaches the commutative principle for multiplication (4 x 3 = 12, as does 3 x 4 = 12; the order doesn't effect the answer). Fill it in as you work through each level - a reward to demonstrate mastery.
We also do the huge verandah or sidewalk version with chalk.
Try making a times table clock for the 1 x through to 12 x...
Here is a close-up - lots of colouring in for those so inclined.
Introduce square numbers
Follow the diagonal line on the blank grid = squares! Build with corn or pebbles to prove same number multiplied by same number = square and it really does make a visual square. Important foundation for square root work later on.
Cognitive skill building - use it don't lose it
Try your usual worksheets, games like the excellent Timez Attack (has a free version plus a paid version - slightly scary but fun!), and just multiplication in every day life.
How do you break the drill and kill in your homeschool?