It’s no secret that I am not a math person.
And it’s really no secret that my kids’ math skills will soon (hopefully!) surpass my own.
I cried my way through calculus (no joke), and I’d rather walk on fire than take another statistics course. While my friends would quickly calculate the final cost of that awesome pair of shoes at 25% off with a $14.75 store credit and (shhhh!) a pal’s employee discount, I’d still be stranded at the 25% off part.
Or I’d pull out my super-secret tiny purse calculator. (It was before we all had smartphones, thank you.)
I have to think through or write out just about any sort of math computation.
So I’m a huge fan of tricks. And songs. And just about anything that makes this math mountain easier for me to climb.
But are ‘math tricks’ okay for kids to learn? What do you think?
Here’s the skinny on a math-happy Quick Trick I learned recently that I find so totally cool. . .
- Mind-Blowing Math Tricks: A few weeks ago, someone told me about the 9 times tables trick. At this point, I have no idea who that person was (sorry!), but if you were the person, please remind me.
I had never heard of it before, so when I showed Maddy, she was pretty amazed. So very happy.
It goes like this:
- 9 times tables trick— take 9 x 3 and put your third finger from the left down. Then count the number of fingers on the left side of that finger (here you get 2) and on the right side of the finger (you get 7). Put those numbers together (27) and there’s your answer. 9 x 3 = 27.
Why does it work? I have no idea. But it’s so cool.
Maddy tries out her ‘new’ multiplication by 9 trick.
Want to read about some tricks for:
- multiplying by 4?
- multiplying by 11?
- multiplying by 12?
- multiples of 3?
And want to know why the multiplying by 9 trick works? Check out 5 Cool Math Tricks You Didn’t Know over on Mom’s Homeroom; it’s full of mind-blowing mathy-math tricks that may make this road a little easier for your kiddos.
But I especially love what math expert, Laura Laing believes about these crazy math tricks. ‘Kids can benefit from knowing math facts cold’ she explains, because ‘when the arithmetic is simple, children are allowed to focus on more complex concepts’. We get that, right? Just like our kiddos need to have a solid knowledge base of sight words so they can focus on comprehension instead of decoding.
However, Laura feels that children should have a strong foundation of basic math skills before the ‘math tricks’ are introduced–this is usually around grades four or five. (Shoot, so poor Maddy will be off here. . . )
She explains that ‘straight memorization is not always the best’ and that ‘when kids spend a great deal of time really unpacking what these math concepts mean, their understanding is far more likely to extend toward many other concepts’ (5 Cool Math Tricks. . . ) which . . . well, yes, yes, and yes! Save the tricks for a little later so the understanding is a little deeper.
But a few tricks in a kid’s back pocket won’t hurt, right?
Do you have any other math tricks that work for your little ones? Have you shared them with your kids already, or are you waiting for a strong, foundational skill-set to develop? I’m so curious! Do tell. . .
fyi: This blog post is part of an incentivized online influencer network for Mom’s Homeroom. Mom’s Homeroom is brought to you by Frosted Mini-Wheats.