Thursday, March 24, 2011

Multiplication by 10

I am slowly introducing multiplication to sonshine. I find this is one tough topic to teach. I have been using a variety of methods to teach him but haven't quite find the right one yet.

I remember i was taught multiplication purely by memorising and had no clue what it was all about until much later. I don't want that for my kid.

The first thing i want Sonshine to understand about multiplication is that it is actually repeated addition.

I have been verbally telling him that 2X3 means adding 2 three times.
I have to pause here and ask...what does 2X3 mean? Does it mean 2 sets of 3 or 3 sets of 2? Does it matter?

Moving on...

Sonshine boy didn't seem to get the concept. So i decided to use my good old Montessori ten beads again. I realised teaching multiplication by ten is much easier for the kid to understand.

I wrote the ten timestable on blue cards and presented to N one card at a time. Starting from 10X1 (i wrote 1 in red) and took out 1 set of the ten beads, 10X2, i took 2 sets of ten beads etc. As expected, Sonshine boy was hooked and understood the concept instantly. He was able to tell me the answers mentally.

Next i showed him that say 10X4, means adding 10 Four times. I took each and counted '10+10+10+10 equals 40!' I also wrote the addition on pink cards.

Then i took out the other pink cards i.e. 10+10 and 10+10+10 and have him matched to the blue (multiplication) cards. I knew he understood the theory when he was able to match the cards correctly.


  1. As you know I did the opposite way as you. I taught Yvette to recite it first which not exactly my intention.

    I love this concept and I will think I will teach Yvette your idea.

  2. Thanks Sunflower! I couldn't quite find the right method to teach toddlers multiplication...hope this works! :P

  3. A very nice method.

    Another easy way can be by using the Montessori Peg board. If you have to teach 10 times 6, then ask him to insert 10 pegs in a row and then explain him to make 6 such rows. As he is comfortable counting by 10's, he will learn this well and also be able to visualize the answers.

    Keep sharing. It helps me.

  4. I personally think this is the proper way to teach kids multification, rather thn recite, they should understand the proper concept!

  5. So so advanced! I read this and think, "wow, are we EVER going to get there? maybe one day!" Great job! :) Very inspiring for newbies like us.

  6. Seema: I didnt use the peg board cos i felt it didn't bring the idea that multiplication is repeated addition across to the child very well. But now that you brought it back to my mind again, i may use it for him to practise the 6X table and above! :))

    P&R: At the rate E is going, i will not be suprise it will be very well soon that she learns multiplication! Keep up the awesome work you're doing!

  7. he is such an inspiration!

    i want to memorize - 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 (ok, i lost count, does it multiply to a million?)

    That's what I need - A MILLION BUCKS or more

    so i'm multiplying now..10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10.......

  8. It is amazing that your Sonshine is learning multiplication at this age! It's definitely better to teach it this way than pure memorization. :)

    Anyway to answer your question, there is a difference between 2X3 and 3X2. The former means 2 groups of 3 and the latter, 3 groups of 2. Of course the answer comes up to be the same, but the concept is different. This concept is in line with division. 6 divided into 2 groups gives you 3 in each group but 6 divided into 3 groups gives you 2 in each.... etc etc.

    But I guess, most of the time, ppl don't really care as long as you can get the correct answer! :)

  9. Finally! Someone came to my rescue! Thanks ING! I realised there was a difference when i was snooping about the primary assesment books. I want to be consistent with the local syllabus. As it is, sonshine boy was already confused when i flipped the equation the other way around! So i better do it right at the first start! Thanks ING for your help- appreciate it!!! :)))


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