Ways to Teach Multiplication Facts to 3Rd & 4Th Grader

Updated on August 12, 2011
M.T. asks from Keller, TX
16 answers

I am trying to teach my boys who are going to 3rd and 4th grade their multiplication facts (1-12). We seem to be stuck at the 3's and 4's. The problem is they need to be able to know them well enough to take a timed test.

I can't get them to understand that they won't have time to figure out the problem and they need to be able to quickly say 4X6=24, etc etc when asked.

When I was in 3rd grade we had to stand in front of the class and recite each group and then be tested. I don't think that works with this generation.

Any suggestions?

UPDATED: They understand multiplication and know how to do it but just need to memorize the facts. With timed tests, they don't have time to figure it out.

Thanks in advance......

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answers from Springfield on

My dad recorded himself, "3*3=9, 3*4=12, 3*5=15 ... " and made us listen to the tape every night before we went to bed. I'm not saying I enjoyed it, but I can still hear my dad saying them :-)

I think he had us listen to a couple of numbers each night. Maybe 1's and 2's one night, 3's and 4's the next, etc. It wasn't so bad, and we did learn them!

My oldest is about to begin Kindergarten, so this is all new to me, but I do teach college remedial math. I always tell my students that the more you are able to understand math, the less you have to memorize. But most of us need to memorize first and understand later. I wouldn't be afraid to do some memorization. These are basic facts that they need to know.

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answers from Honolulu on


Even Bill Gates is a fan and uses it himself.
It is FREE.
It is to learn math and is for adults and children.

Both my kids use it, like it and they are 4 and 8 years old.

Memorizing 'facts' takes time.
Not over night.
And many times, even if they memorize a number's multiplication, by 3-4 days later, they forget it, again.

My daughter is in 4th grade now. Over the summer we did tons of multiplication math facts and she does the Kahn Academy exercises online too.

You need to use, various methods of teaching it.

It takes practice and practice and practice.

At this grade, they will also be doing Division.
And other math concepts.
And yes, for timed testing.

They also need to know place values.
Prime numbers.

And they need to get used to not using their fingers to count.

ALSO they need to be able to type, quickly. (because they do timed tests on the computer at school. My daughter does).
To learn typing.... go to:
It is FREE.... and recommended by my Daughter's Teachers.

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answers from San Francisco on

**Edited to add***
Thought of one more activity they did in DD2's 3rd grade class - multiplication Bingo! Kids have a copy of a multiplication table for reference and write numbers down in a grid (if you want to work on the 3's and 4's, have them just use the numbers that are divisible by 3 or 4). Have a number of small cards or pieces of paper with the assorted multiplication problems on them (2x4, 3x4 etc.) and draw these out of a bag one at a time - so when you read them the problem they have to think of the answer and then see if it's on their bingo card. You could have them play regular bingo (5 in a row) or if they're in to it, play until one player has a 'black out' of all the grid covered. Hope that helps - I remember the kids really enjoyed this game.

DD2's 3rd grade teacher had a bunch of great activities for this (and I helped out in the classroom so I *should* remember more than I do), right now the only one I remember is the triangular flash cards like the ones here: http://donnayoung.org/math/tricards.htm

Also check if your library has the "Math Blaster" computer games. And sites like http://www.coolmath-games.com has some multiplication games like this one: http://www.coolmath-games.com/0-crazy-taxi-m12/index.html

Will post back when I remember some of the other activities (DD2 comes back from camp on Saturday, I'll ask her!)

Oh, and if your kids get music stuck in their heads, check your library for Schoolhouse Rock DVDs ("Three is a Magic Number" is still how I remember my 3's times table!) you can find them on YouTube too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GA69pmhrBiE&feature=re...

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answers from Dallas on

MathBlasters.com (I think that's the web site!)

Research shows that memorizing facts is developmental. If they are not developmentally ready, they will have a hard time memorizing facts.

With that being said, I do not teach multiplication and division facts until the fourth quarter of te school year. HOWEVER! Stdents are taught and held accountable for know how to solve multiplication and division: arrays, repeater addition/subtraction for division. That is TEK for third grade- not fluency of facts.

Henry Anker Tests is also a wonderful website for math games. (search Henry Anker)

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answers from Philadelphia on

We also frequently review counting by 3 and 4's etc.

My kids also use Khan Academy.

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answers from Spokane on

We learned by using a 'times table'. You can google what it's supposed to look like and make them yourself.



answers from Dallas on

Thank you SOOOO much for caring about your boys learning their multiplication facts. It is sooo frustrating as a ninth grade math teacher when my students don't know them. Ugh!!!!! You'd be surprised at how many don't know them. Such a hindrance!! You go, M.!!


answers from Sacramento on

Flash cards!

Good Luck - it is just something that is learned with repetition!



answers from New York on

we used to do drills at bed time - while my kids were lying in bed... while driving places, while washing their hair. it's all about repetition. i remember drying dishes with my mom in 3rd grade while she drilled me... it's like memorizing anything - repetition and then some more! if you can put it to music that willhelp. finally many people, particularly boys learn besst while in motion - I used to throw a ball with my son, jump up and down, run circles around the hosue while he recited stuff learn lots of memorization stuff. as long as he didn't have to sit still he could learn. figure out how to make it fun for them!



answers from Tyler on

We used flash cards. Our #3 almost slipped through the cracks until one day in the car I started asking each of them what 7 x 4, 3 x 5, etc., and when I got to #3, she couldn't come up with an answer. She was in 5th grade! So I started making it a competition between her and her older siblings. It didn't take long for her to learn them and beat out her sibs. Today she's a CPA!



answers from Dallas on

This is where you need to do lots of repetition. Every day a mini test of your own. Allow only 5 minutes to complete the test of 50 or more. There are online test generators. And then write the one they got wrong 10 times. They will get it eventually. AND once they have it math just gets that much easier.
Good Job MOM!



answers from Dallas on

what worked for my daughter was her teacher would send home a simple worksheet with 100 mulitplication facts. Each sheet was two or three numbers like one sheet would be 2 and 3's the next sheet would be 4's and 5's and so on. But there would be 100 of them on a sheet. And she would have to do one sheet each night. After doing 100 of them, she prettymuch had them memorized. She didn't like sitting there doing 100 problems so it seemed to make her memorize them alot faster so that she wasn't sitting there so long. Then I quiz her here and there, in the car, while Im cooking while she's in the bath, to make sure she has them down concrete~!

Another teacher suggested I use pennies and they have to count them out. THat seemed to take alot longer, but it helps them w/the concept of mulit. better! But yes repetition is the key!



answers from New York on

Do the understand the concept of multiplication? If they don't understand the concept that could be holding them back. Give them a visual that they can relate to.

What you're asking them to do is memorize, so need to find what works best for them. For some, it's still the old fashioned way so reciting each group 1x3, 2x3 etc. For others flash cards help. My daughter learns best by writing things down, she could recite a 100 times and still not get it, but after writing it a few times, it'll stick.

In today's age computer games seem to be the best bet - I think the Jump Start series might help, or other mamas might have some suggestions.

Music is also a good way. There are the old School House Rock videos and songs. Once again other mamas may be able to suggest something that's more current.



answers from Wichita Falls on

When my daughter started the multiplication table, I took a dry erase marker to the bathroom tile (think 10x10 grid) and created a giant multiplication table right in front of the toilet. Every time she had to sit--- it was staring her right in the face. Math went from one of her worse subject to her best.


answers from Tyler on

I just want to congratulate you on handling this at home, it is something that many schools are dropping these days (along with cursive handwriting) to move toward "teaching to the test" curriculums. I didn't realize this would not be taught at school until the end of my youngest dgtr's 3rd grade year and now we use flashcards. She has caught up but still uses more "tricks" they teach in school than rote memory.

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