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By Susan J. Ward on August 10 2018 09:22:41

That still leaves the problem of memorizing a string of numbers, and here’s where the magic is. Teach children to skip count to the tune of a simple song. Have you ever wondered why children can learn the lyrics to songs so easily? It is because music can be used as a Mnemonic device, that is a strategy to assist with memorization. If you can associate the numbers with the sounds in a song, the children will not only learn them faster, but retain them much longer than they would memorizing them exclusively through repetition.

Relate the numbers and multiplication tables to everyday life. Try to find ways to incorporate the math tables into daily life. This will help you truly understand the numbers instead of simply memorizing the material. If you know that a special holiday is only 8 weeks away, you can use your multiplication facts to figure out how many days away it is. There are 7 days in a week, so 7 times 8 is 56. Your holiday is only 56 days away!

If a child is really confused about decimals, converting decimal numnbers into money is a great way to make things clearer. For example: a child may be asked to say how much bigger 1.3 is than 0.9. If they convert these decimals into money (£1.30 and 90p) they may find that they can do this calculation very quickly in their head, getting the answer 40p which they convert back into the decimal, 0.4. Demonstrating that money maths depends on decimal understanding is also an easy way to prove that decimals are actually useful in real life!

What it is about memorizing multiplication tables that make my kids throw their pencil across the room and shout, “I hate math?” It is because, unlike spelling or vocabulary, numbers don’t create pictures for us. Multiplication tables are strings of seemingly random numbers that our children are expected to not only remember, but keep in order and in context with the numbers they are multiplying by.

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