Jump to content

Menu

Adult who never learned multiplication facts


Recommended Posts

I teach math 101 at a community college. It's basically a 7th or 8th grade math course. No calculators are allowed. I refer to the class as "All the Math You Forgot".

 

Today a student drew 27 and 81 circles today to simplify 27/81. It was painful to watch. He's in his late 20s and never learned the multiplication tables. He said that his teachers always let him have a multiplication chart or a calculator. I told him about Timez Attack.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yup. It's very discouraging.

At least he had a way to figure it out.

 

I've been teaching at the cc for the past 15 years now. There definitely are the students who are dreadful and are a pain - and you'll see the ones who really make you feel good about homeschooling (how did you get through the school system??!!?).

 

In every class though (with one exception), you'll find the students who just amaze you... who are returning to school to learn, who are willing to work, and who have an incredible amount of determination. I try to stay focused and use my energy on the students who want to learn and try to help them.

 

NCMATYC is a really useful group to be a part of if you are in NC. The AMATYC conferences are absolutely amazing and really helpful if they're ever held in the area.

 

Hang in there!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Back in 1947 or thereabouts, my mom changed elementary schools and wound missing the times tables above 4. She never learned them, and despite the oft-heard claim that there was no social promotion back in the day, she went on to win full scholarships to a private high school and then to a Seven Sisters college. However, if you say "Ma! What's 8 x 7?" she will look at you dubiously. "42?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A motivated adult (no major learning disabilities) can learn the basic facts in a few days.

 

I had my students take a sheet of notebook paper and write the multiples of (lets say) 3 across one line (3,6,9,12...30) then I had them fill each line in page saying the multiples out loud as they wrote them... This worked with every adult student I had at this level.

 

I followed this up with a lesson on multi-digit multiplication for practice --then we moved to fractions.

 

Once they are 'motivated' the progression is usually rapid-- they HAVE seen this stuff before-- now it should FINALLY make sense!

 

It is amazing how 'we' take basic math facts for granted...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's sad but becoming more common. My dd is in ps this year for 6th grade and they still have weekly mult. quizzes (in advanced math). The teacher has stressed to parents how important it is for the kids to now know their facts. Dd is one of a very few who get them right weekly. My dds have both known all of their facts by the end of 3rd grade so it's something I don't quite understand.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a friend who self-identifies as a very "relaxed" homeschooler. Her daughter is 16. I asked her the other day what DD was doing, she said they pretty much just stopped schooling and were going to have her take the GED when she was eligible. She has two boys who already got their GEDs.

 

She said the only thing she wishes she had done differently was have them learn their times tables better. :blink: She said daughter barely knows them. My DD12 almost choked. Of course now she thinks I'm too strict!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The way I learned the multiplication facts was by writing them out every. single. day when I was in 6th grade. Our teacher provided unlined paper, and when we first went into her classroom, we knew we were supposed to get a sheet of that paper and start writing. We wrote the 0's thru 6's one day and 7's thru 12's the next, and so on. We had to write out each and every fact:

 

0 x 0 = 0

0 x 1 = 0

0 x 2 = 0...

 

all the way through

 

12 x 10 = 120

12 x 11 = 132

12 x 12 = 144

 

To this day, I know the multiplication facts backward and forward, and I can do timed drills faster than anyone I know.

 

When I taught in PS, one of my classes one year was the lowest achieving group of 6th grade math students. When the school year started, none of them knew the math facts, so I used the same method my 6th grade teacher used, and I had my students write out the multiplication tables every day. It was s-l-o-w at first, and they had to copy the facts from a handout, but the repetition worked, and they learned the facts through and through. They learned them so well that the teacher of the top group asked my my secret because her math students didn't know the multiplication facts as well as mine did!

 

So guess which method I used to teach the multiplication facts to my own dc? :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I was teaching actual middle schoolers math the thing that floored me wasn't as much that some of them didn't know their times tables by heart, but that some of them had NO strategies for figuring them out. I'd be like, okay, you're stuck on 6 x 8, but you know 5 x 8, so why don't you do that and add 8? And they'd give me a blank look.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I remember that, when I was in school, it was mandatory that we knew and passed the "multiples" tests before we could move on to 4th grade. Each student worked hard to memorize them all year long so we could pass on. Everyone passed.

 

20 years later, my ds (now 12) was finishing 3rd grade. He knew *some* of his multiplication tables. They were offered a pizza party if the whole class passed all of their multiplication quizzes and the ones who cared eventually gave up realizing there would always be one kid who didn't care that held them back. The motivation was not there.

 

At the end of that year, we went to meet the teacher for 4th grade. I asked her, "will the children be firming up their memorization of the multiplication facts this year?"...to which she (a veteran teacher) responded, "oh, no...they don't need to memorize all of them...we will just TAPE A CHART TO THEIR DESK."

 

Yep...that was the summer I started homeschooling (and ds DID learn his multiplication facts by heart). ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I kind of can't believe how common this seems to be. I had a real hard nose for a teacher in 3rd grade and she made us memorize them all. AND thanks to the endless drills, and fearing Mrs. Brown more than the devil himself, I still have them down pat.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I teach math 101 at a community college. It's basically a 7th or 8th grade math course. No calculators are allowed. I refer to the class as "All the Math You Forgot".

 

Today a student drew 27 and 81 circles today to simplify 27/81. It was painful to watch. He's in his late 20s and never learned the multiplication tables. He said that his teachers always let him have a multiplication chart or a calculator. I told him about Timez Attack.

 

In 1989 when the new NCTM standards came out, he would probably have been in first or second grade, right? He might have gone through his math education with one of the more controversial math programs like Mathland that focused on concrete visual number sense over efficient algorithms or memorization of times tables. The drawing 27 and 81 circles might have been a strategy he was taught.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

THis is our first year of homeschooling and DD is in 4th grade. From working her math with her, I'm almost positive they didn't do times tables last year. :huh: They spent the whole year on test prep.... I really like the idea of having her write them out daily. :001_smile: THat is an important skill to know.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You know, I've come to conclude that people who don't know had the wrong teacher. We were discussing this last night with two ps teachers in the room and they totally agreed.

 

Kids love school until they get paired up with the wrong teacher. In other words as long as the teacher{s} can keep the learning new and fun or at least not boring, kids are gonna keep right on loving it. Funny thing was, each adult at the table could name the grade they started hating school. It wasn't a subject that made them hate it, but a specific teacher.

 

Thanks to Times Alive! my 8 year old all ready knows his times tables. ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My 9 yr. old hated memorizing the times tables and many people told me not to make her memorize them.

 

We love Timez Attack! She had them memorized within 6 wks. and is now flying through her math book. I actually took time off from her regular math to focus on times tables and it has really paid off. :001_smile:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have an engineering degree and all the credit hours needed for a minor in math (but I did the last 3 years later so didn't get the minor).

 

I don't know the 11s or 12s. :o I do those by parsing and adding when I need to.

 

I will probably memorize them along with DS1, at whatever age he gets there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Perhaps his teachers always let him use a multiplication table because of a learning disability? My son can drill multiplication tables accurately (we do this regularly), but he is slower than many of his peers. When he has to use them in a problem, he has a difficult time recalling them. Therefore, he is often allowed a multiplication table to aid his speed. Otherwise, he would never be fast enough to do the more difficult problems, he'd just get stuck. He is fully capable of understanding the difficult problems & it would be a shame to hold him back from that due to this one area of difficulty.

 

I'd recommend he visit student services or whatever the school calls it and ask about evaluations/accommodations, etc. that can be made available to him at the college level. I wouldn't assume he had never been taught, though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I learned my multiplication facts but only up 9x9. Learning my 10 and 11 tables I learned on my own because they were easy. I did not learn my 12's table and tables the have _x12 gives me hard time til the day.:glare:

 

But if you know 10s and 11s, just add up one or two more times.

 

so if you know 9x11=99, just add another nine. 108, lickety-split!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am a homework helper for older kids, and I find not knowing multiplication facts to be sadly common. In my situation, I don't have regular enough contact with each student to drill facts, so I at least show them how to skip count. I figure with enough use, they will come to remember the more common facts. At a minimum, they have a strategy to arrive at the answer. Most of them have never learned skip counting, either.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I learned my multiplication facts but only up 9x9. Learning my 10 and 11 tables I learned on my own because they were easy. I did not learn my 12's table and tables the have _x12 gives me hard time til the day.:glare:

In school we were taught only through 9x9. I had a pencil box with a little slider multiplication thingie on top; it went through 12x12 so I memorized the facts just playing with the pencil box. :001_smile: Wish I still had it because it was pretty cool!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I remember that, when I was in school, it was mandatory that we knew and passed the "multiples" tests before we could move on to 4th grade. Each student worked hard to memorize them all year long so we could pass on. Everyone passed.

 

20 years later, my ds (now 12) was finishing 3rd grade. He knew *some* of his multiplication tables. They were offered a pizza party if the whole class passed all of their multiplication quizzes and the ones who cared eventually gave up realizing there would always be one kid who didn't care that held them back. The motivation was not there.

 

I think that kids should probably be spending the time to learn this stuff in school. If they are supposed to do it on their own time, too much depends on having a home environment that is amenable to practicing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I never learned my facts, but not for lack of trying. I remember being required to eat lunch at the teacher's table in 4th grade so I would practice the times tables during lunch :confused:. The teachers didn't help me or anything, they just kept on eating and chatting as I sat there starting at the multiplication chart.

 

From then on, I just stumbled along, counting up on my fingers from the facts I did know (mostly doubles). Of course, I had a terrible time reducing fractions, and was really lost in Algebra (no calculators).

 

I have finally learned my facts along with my dd using mnemonics. The stories were just what I needed to have something to attach the random numbers to. Simply chanting the numbers over and over did no good, because they could be any numbers. If I draw a blank, that's it, there's nowhere to search for the answer in my brain other than counting up from a known fact. Now I just think of the story. It works for division also.

 

I don't know if your adult student would find the stories too juvenile, but they worked exceedingly well for me. I used "Memorize in Minutes", which is also available as an ebook for only $5 http://multiplication.com/order.htm

 

I was accepted to college (they commented that my math scores were pretty good considering I only successfully completed Pre-Algebra and Business Math) on the condition that I concurrently enroll in a CC math class. Fortunately, I had an excellent teacher who explained the concepts through multiple approaches. I was also mature enough that I was no longer shy or ashamed of asking questions as I had been in front of my peers in high school.

 

Of course, my forte and therefore my major was in the humanities, and I graduated at the top of my class (summa cum laude, spoke at graduation, etc.) We all have our strengths and weaknesses, and while PS did an excellent job of developing my strengths, it did next to nothing to address my weaknesses.

 

I guess I'm trying to say, you would do your student an enormous service by helping him to finally learn his times tables. At the same time, don't assume that he is deficient or uneducated or unskilled in other areas. He could be highly intelligent but just not have a "math brain", and no one bothered to explain math in a way he could process. I hope you can be that excellent teacher who can finally break through to him.

 

Good luck!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

in school i was taught through 9's as well. 10's and 11's are a cinch. there are a few in the 12's that i have to pause over still, but i usually multiply by 11 and add 12.

 

my daughter (just turned 10 this week) just finished times tales. we now review the entire CLE flashcard pile daily (but quickly) to solidify multiplication and division facts through 12. i know this is foundational in moving forward, so we do it every day.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had to learn them in 5th grade. Oh it was a pain, and I knew we were moving out of state very soon. I wished we would just go ahead and move so I would not have to memorize the facts.

 

No, we moved a few days after I passed the oral test for them. The trouble was although I passed I didn't know all of them. If you start asking me about 6,7, and 8 (not the six times tables or the 7 times tables) I have to guess. I don't know 6x8, 7x6 (oddly enough I can do 6x7), 7x7, 7x8, 8x6, and 8x7. Also I only know about half of the 12s. I can skip count by 12 but don't know past 12x6.

 

I made sure dd had them down. She knows all of them and looks at me funny if I have to ask her one of my problem problems.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have an engineering degree and all the credit hours needed for a minor in math (but I did the last 3 years later so didn't get the minor).

 

I don't know the 11s or 12s. :o I do those by parsing and adding when I need to.

 

I will probably memorize them along with DS1, at whatever age he gets there.

 

I bet you do know the 11s. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I guess I'm trying to say, you would do your student an enormous service by helping him to finally learn his times tables. At the same time, don't assume that he is deficient or uneducated or unskilled in other areas. He could be highly intelligent but just not have a "math brain", and no one bothered to explain math in a way he could process. I hope you can be that excellent teacher who can finally break through to him.

 

Good luck!

 

Oh no! I don't think of my struggling college students as "less than". This is a class full of mechanics, so he has lots of tool smarts. I refer to myself as mechanically inept.:tongue_smilie:

 

I wish I had caught on to the fact that he didn't know his times tables earlier. He had always worked more slowly than my other students, and I allow more time when I can. He was still working when the next class was coming in, so I had hurry him along. That's when I saw a paper full of circles. We ended up talking about what was going on and I discovered that he didn't know multiplication tables and didn't have a strategy for learning them. He was absent the day we filled in a blank multiplication chart.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Perhaps his teachers always let him use a multiplication table because of a learning disability? My son can drill multiplication tables accurately (we do this regularly), but he is slower than many of his peers. When he has to use them in a problem, he has a difficult time recalling them. Therefore, he is often allowed a multiplication table to aid his speed. Otherwise, he would never be fast enough to do the more difficult problems, he'd just get stuck. He is fully capable of understanding the difficult problems & it would be a shame to hold him back from that due to this one area of difficulty.

 

I'd recommend he visit student services or whatever the school calls it and ask about evaluations/accommodations, etc. that can be made available to him at the college level. I wouldn't assume he had never been taught, though.

 

 

:iagree:I have one dd (dyslexic) who simply has had a horrific time learning them. We have done absolutely everything. If she does get to where she can get them correct finally, she can't do them a week later. They just seem to disappear from her brain. I figure we can work on them forever or move on. We have moved on. She now has a calculator. It takes care of that pesky problem of basic facts for her and allows her to be able to focus on doing algebra. (Well, she can usually do it if it doesn't involve words.:tongue_smilie:)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I do not know 11x11 and 11x12.

 

Well, that's most of the way there. :D

 

Want to know an easy trick?

 

To multiply a 2-digit number by 11, add the two digits together and put the sum in between the two original digits --

 

11 x 13 = 143

11 x 25 = 275

11 x 61 = 671

 

It gets a little wonky if the two digits' sum is greater than 9.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, that's most of the way there. :D

 

Want to know an easy trick?

 

To multiply a 2-digit number by 11, add the two digits together and put the sum in between the two original digits --

 

11 x 13 = 143

11 x 25 = 275

11 x 61 = 671

 

It gets a little wonky if the two digits' sum is greater than 9.

 

That is a good one. Thanks!!:001_smile:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 years later...

I know this is old, but I am looking for some help and came across this post. My dd is 11, 6th grade and first year homeschooling. I learned that she actually does not know her multiplication facts at all. I mean at all. Somehow she managed to get by and slip through, but honestly, she does not know them. :( I also had to teach her to multiply by 10, 100.... I mean, really? She can occasionally space out during the class, so I assume it was not that occasional afterall. So I am going to try daily writing as ereks mom suggested. It's just tough to watch her do finger counting and some major problem solving in her head when I ask "what is 3x7".... Sigh.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know this is old, but I am looking for some help and came across this post. My dd is 11, 6th grade and first year homeschooling. I learned that she actually does not know her multiplication facts at all. I mean at all. Somehow she managed to get by and slip through, but honestly, she does not know them. :( I also had to teach her to multiply by 10, 100.... I mean, really? She can occasionally space out during the class, so I assume it was not that occasional afterall. So I am going to try daily writing as ereks mom suggested. It's just tough to watch her do finger counting and some major problem solving in her head when I ask "what is 3x7".... Sigh.

 

 

The Kumon books are pretty much the repeated writing, worked for my older dd.  To do again, I wouldn't buy the book, just have them write it.

 

For my middle dd, she loved watching skip counting videos on youtube, and filling out the square multiplication table over & over, and flashcards.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You can do these tables daily as well:

 

http://www.donpotter.net/pdf/multiplication-matrix.pdf

 

And, doing the facts in reverse with a honeycomb matrix is also good. I used a printed version with my daughter, she felt less overwhelmed doing them in reverse. My son likes them better the normal way, but I think it is good to be able to do both.

 

http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/13520291/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Anyone else have to stand up in front of the class to recite their times tables??

 

(Catholic school 3rd grade in the 80's) There's nothing like the fear of being scolded by Sister Xavier for making one learn those facts!  :laugh:

 

I remember in my childhood (public school in Australia) that the entire class stood and recited "one times one is one" all the way to "twelve times twelve is one hundred and forty four".  Yes, it was rote learning.  And, yes, I know those multiplication tables to this day.

 

Regards,

Kareni

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...