Monday, 17 February 2014

Creative multiplication...

Teacher, n.
A person who helps you solve problems you'd never have without them.

When your kids reach a certain age, they come home eager to pull out an exercise book, draw up some lines resembling a table, and play maths games with themselves... Well, at least my 10 year old has been doing this week.

I put it down to either the enjoyment of being in Year 5... or the fact that the more correct maths answers he gets in class, the more chances he has to earn himself an ice cream. His teacher has certainly got it right for my Ben.

Ben's been going pretty well with maths because of this game that is played in class (which is apparently called "Quick Draw"), with a different set of multiples learned each week. There's the challenge to beat other- and older- students, there's the triumph of actually answering correctly, there's the adrenaline to think and spurt out the answer as quickly as possible...

And, there's ice cream on offer!!

Basically, I wanted to write about the way I learned the 9 times tables. I can't remember how I was taught, but it has stuck with me throughout my life, and I've recently begun to share this insight with my kids.

It is a fantastic feeling to see the light in their eyes suddenly switch on when they finally "get it". By no means has this motivated me to enrol in a teaching degree so I can see more of these little light bulbs switch on each day, as I do not possess the gift of patience that is necessary to allow myself to be in an entire room full of 10 year olds for many hours at a time, which does make me admire those who do have the strength (and patience) to manage that each day, and coming out the other end with their hair still intact.

Pretty please excuse my pathetic job on the imagery (unlike Husband, I am not a Photoshop genius), but I've done the best to try and explain what I'm trying to say.

Learning 9 times tables, with just your hands.

If you hold your hands out in front of you (assuming that you see 10 fingers), you can learn your 9 times tables. With each finger acting as a multiple of 9, when you turn them down one at a time, you divide your fingers into two sections: "groups of 10" & "groups of 1". The fingers before the one turned down: groups of 10; and the ones after: groups of 1.

Like this:
And this:
Does that makes sense!? Try it.

It thought I had blown my childrens' minds when I held up my hands like this and walked them through the procedure. Sure, I had to repeat myself a few times, but from the corner of my eye, I did spot them trying to do it by themselves...

When I showed them the pictures that I made for this blog post, Ben (the 10 year old), was convinced that it was a picture of someone who's fingers had been cut off, and could not contain his laughter. Like, at all. It was both frustrating and depressing, as I had no idea how I could make it any better.

If what you've just read hasn't been helpful at all, then perhaps this will be:

Happy learning/parenting/teaching!! :)

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