January 13, 2009
Lately for math time, my three oldest kids, 9, 7, and 5-years-old, sit around listening to stories like:
“A huge tree (three) decided it wanted to skate (eight). At the skating rink, he was having a grand ol’ time when the owner said he had to leave because he was so big and heavy he was leaving dents in the floor (denty floor = twenty four)”
We’ve finished the whole times table in 6 days or so, spending 10 – 20 minutes a day. Now we review the tables once or twice a week to help them get faster at with the facts.
What a fun way to learn math – listening and remembering silly stories. And unlike repeated boring numbers over and over, you’re a lot more likely to remember the denty floor and the big tree in skates.
Here’s the book: Memorize in Minutes : The Times Tables
And the teacher who wrote this book has a website, www.Multiplication.com with tons of great math ideas, games, and more. If you have a student struggling with multiplication, definitely give him a visit.
And to address the skeptics:
Two main objections to this method:
- It doesn’t teach math concepts or what multiplication actually means. You’re right. I teach that separately. This method is strictly an effective way to memorize a fact I want to know without having to calculate it.
- It takes too long – you have to translate numbers into ‘tree’ and ‘skate’, then remember the story, then translate ‘denty floor’ back into 24. Yes, it take a bit longer to start with, but your mind quickly learns and will eventually skip the whole story part and you’ll find the answer immediately jumps to mind. The more silly the story the easier you remember the facts with much less repetition. It’s fun, easy, and much faster.