The jump from addition and subtraction to multiplication could turn out to be a challenge for children who are just starting out with it. However, there are a few tips ways by which parents and teachers can ensure that children grasp the concept of multiplication without dreading numbers!
Make use of pictures or materials to introduce the concept
Try and make use of anything lying around – pencils, balls, coins or pictures. Just about anything! Children learn faster when they are taught using some sort of pictorial representation or regular materials. Before explaining the ‘bookish ‘concepts, it’s advisable to make them understand what multiplication is, using simple, everyday objects. Things like x number of coins in each hand is equal to x times two coins together. This is a great teaching method to make the transition from ‘+,’’ -’ to ‘x’ in their learning journey
Relate multiplication to addition
It goes without saying that children will better relate to addition while learning multiplication. The more we simplify concepts for them, the better their level of understanding. For example, 2×3 can be explained to them as 2+2+2 (that’s why we use the words, three times two). Once they interpret the meaning of multiplying, they’ll sail through the other concepts. After all, multiplication is repeated addition, isn’t it?
Use the multiplication table, starting with the “easy” numbers
Gradually, when children grasp the concept of multiplication, or repeated addition, introduce them to multiplication tables. Begin with the easy numbers like 2 or 3. While they learn their tables, be there to explain why 2×3 is 6 or why 3×3 is 9. Remember, it is all about strengthening their math fundamentals. Keep a multiplication table handy which children can refer to and try to make learning as much fun as you can! Reward them with stickers or stars when they get their tables right.
Show how commutative property makes things simpler.
Explaining children that any numbers can be multiplied in any order plays a crucial role in clearing any doubts they might have. Teach them how multiplication is commutative, just like addition. 2×5 is the same as 5×2. The more comfortable children are with numbers, the better they will be on the uptake. When they understand the commutative property effectively, it will only encourage them to go a step further. And again, you can make use of visual aids to explain this concept!
Try multiplication games
Game-based learning turns out to be effective almost every time. With multiple apps to download from, multiplication can be made a lot easier through the help of learning games. Some of the games you can search for are ‘Times Tables’ and ‘Math Blaster.’ Learning through games will keep children engaged and make learning an adventure of sorts.
Break memorization down into simpler steps
Once children start learning the multiplication table, explain to them the use of multiplication in our daily lives. Follow a step-by-step approach and gradually increase the difficulty level. The right approach with the right encouragement will do wonders for children. Give them enough time to practice a concept before you move on to the next. Once children are comfortable with memorizing the multiplication of smaller numbers, move on to bigger numbers. Don’t try to rush them onto the next number until they are completely familiar with the previous numbers.
By making use of these simple and effective strategies, you can ensure that multiplication isn’t so daunting for your children. Allow for a few mistakes to be made initially – it’s all part of strengthening their maths skills. Keep practicing and praising their efforts and you’ll notice how your child’s love for mathematics multiples!