# Multiplication facts, how important is order?

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DS is taking a class with Saxon this year to help me with my overall teaching load.  He used CLE and SM and will continue with SM next year.  They are studying multiplication this year.  SM and CLE teach 3x4=12 as 3 groups of 4 equals 12.  Routinely the Saxon material being used will list the problem the opposite way. To me three jumps on a number line of 4 numbers is 3x4=12, because 4+4+4 = 3 groups of 4=12  I keep telling my son to disregard the way they are listing it, and follow the way we've been doing it since the beginning, but now I'm questioning myself.  How important is the order?

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Not at all, for multiplication, since it's commutative. But that's only if he truly understands that it IS commutative.

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Depends on the stress of the words. LOL

3, times four, is 3, 3, 3, 3. Three times 4 is 4, 4, 4.

But no, not important unless you're doing a terribly made common core book.

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I hate this sort of stuff.  My vote is not important!

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Its not important.  Multiplication is commutative, as mentioned up thread.  Does he understand the concept behind those words/numbers?  If he understands the concept then it is no big deal at all.  If he doesn't then it could trip him up later on.  Maybe pull out some manipulatives and have him explain what each one is and see that in the end it is the same amount, just different ways of grouping the items before combining them.

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I used Education Unboxed to introduce multiplication and I use the way they explain it the multiplication sign is like saying of. So the problem could also be said 3 of 4 or 3 groups of 4. The communicative property was quickly discovered by seeing that they take up the same area and he solves it the way that is easier now.

Edited by MistyMountain
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Agree with all of the above.

When I'm teaching this at least, I think it's important that my child finds the strategy that is most efficient for him. If you're jumping on a number line (or skip counting in your head), you do it the way that is the least cumbersome. That might not make a big difference for 3x4, but for 9x5 it would-- for most of us it makes a lot more sense to count by 5s than 9s (although I love 9s), although if you're using on a number line, it often makes sense to do the fewest jumps, I'd think. Likewise if he's memorized his 5 times tables, but not his 9s, he could produce that fact instantly even though the 9 comes first and discard the whole notion of doing that one on the number line altogether.

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