Weird topic, huh? I bet you’re interested in knowing this quick trick to reciting what’s on the basic times tables chart, right? Well, read on. In Grade School we learned by repeating them over and over and-well, you get the message, right? Remember how our teachers tested us and gave us math homework? How about when they called out our names and waited for us to raise our tiny hands? There’d always be someone just jumping at the chance to call out the answer although sometimes it was the wrong answer. Sometimes our teachers made it fun by playing games with us and it certainly did work, didn’t it? Still, if you were anything like I was then you probably didn’t find it to be so much fun and you probably forgot how to recite them off the top of your head the moment you got old enough to “not need to know them anymore.”
Like many things we learn we only remember them long enough to pass a test and then forget about it as soon as it’s over. If you were also like I was then you probably only knew your 0, 1, 2, 5, and 10 times tables and thought you knew something just because you could quickly recite them. But whatever happened to 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, and at least 12?
While you may not need to know everything there is to know about math you do need to know at least the basics multiplication chart. Sadly, it took me to get much older (and wiser) to get that concept. Some of you may scoff and say, “you really don’t know your times tables?” and I’d non-shamefully (and I know I just made non-shamefully up) answer, “I knew them but couldn’t quickly recite them off the top of my head.” Chances are they’d re-think that little smart remark and say to themselves, “wait! Neither can I!” So, now what?
For me, the best way to learn something is to know the pattern and to know “why” something is. I know this may be time-consuming and to others it may be useless. Just know that this is the answer and let it go! Some might shout at you. But for me, understanding “why” and understanding patterns helped me keep things in my head long after a test simply because they were logical. Now, everything isn’t always going to be logical and you won’t always find an easy way to learn something, but if you can make life easier for yourself, even if it’s the simplest thing, wouldn’t you want to? I’m thinking your answer is, “yes”.
Now, why on Earth would I decide to write an article on reciting basic times tables? C’mon. Admit it. You’d love to be able to say 9X8 equals 72 without a pause, wouldn’t you? I know I did. (shhh, it’s the little things). For some reason or another as a child I found my 9 times tables to be soooo hard. I don’t know why but I guess I was just unbelievably bored of it. Although I have a nasty little habit of making things harder on myself, I actually understood a way to make this fun and easy!
I recall teaching a young girl her times tables many years ago. At first, she was soooo bored of learning it the way her teacher taught. Like many teachers they teach you to learn by repetition. I told her there was an easier way to do it in addition to repetition and she probably could use this method primarily. All she had to do was see the pattern.
First, I had her write the numbers from 9 to 0 like so: 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0. Then, I told her to write the numbers forward, but this time to place the forward numbers in front of the backwards numbers like this: 09, 18, 27, 36, 45, 54, 63, 72, 81, 90.
Can you see the pattern? The numbers repeat themselves over and over again! Now, before we go any further, here’s what I would like you to do. Look at the first set of numbers (9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0). Now, close your eyes and place the forward numbers in front of them. Concentrate on what you see and then with a whisper, recite what you see in your head. Get comfortable with just your whisper and visualize what you are seeing. When you’ve gotten comfortable enough you should raise your voice just a taste and continue to recite them, still visualizing the numbers. Now, write the numbers down without looking. How did it work out for you?
Since you’re having so much fun let’s go a little further, shall we? Write the numbers from 9 to 0, but this time repeat the sequence once you reach 0:
9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0
Now, as you did before, place the forward numbers in front of the previous numbers. This time it gets a tad tricky but bear with me. Look at the pattern. You will see that after 90 you have to start with 9 again because the numbers are growing. Think about it, if you start back at 1 then nothing would change, would it? Still, it’s simple because you just continue the numbers as if you’re counting normally. Check it out!
09, 18, 27, 36, 45, 54, 63, 72, 81, 90, 99, 108, 117, 126, 135, 144, 153, 162, 171, 180, 189, and so on.
Notice, once you get to 0 the first two numbers are the same because the numbers get higher, but the concept does not change. As I said, it gets a wee bit tricky when the numbers get higher but stick with the pattern. Keep writing them down. As you look at them follow the sequence as you did when the numbers were just from 0-9.
Keep in mind that this works for all of the times tables. You just have to watch the pattern. Once you do this you’ll find that reciting them and knowing them will come as easy as 1, 2, 3! (no pun intended) By the way, teaching your little ones this method will be just as easy for them as it is for you so share the good news!