Math Background

Using a Multiplication Table: When Students Ask

  • Why do I have to memorize the multiplication facts?
    Being able to recall the multiplication facts quickly will help your students when they multiply greater numbers and when they divide. It will also help them in real life when they are shopping, doing craft projects, participating in sports, and in many other activities.
  • What else can I do with a multiplication table besides multiply?
    A multiplication table is an excellent tool for students to use when they explore number patterns. They will also use a multiplication table when they study division-the inverse of multiplication.
  • Why should I bother learning multiplication, especially if I have a calculator?
    Demonstrate for students that it takes longer to use a calculator to find the product of basic facts than it does to use mental math. Say an expression such as 8 x 9. Have one student use a calculator to find the product and another student who has quick recall of the multiplication facts use mental math to find the product. Students will see for themselves that mental math works faster than a calculator.
  • Why should I carefully choose the factors I group when I multiply three numbers?
    Give students several examples that show how choosing which factors to group can make multiplying three numbers easier. Here is one example: To find the product of 4 x 3 x 3, you could group 4 and 3 together to get 12. Then you would need to multiply a two-digit number by a one-digit number to get the product 36. If instead you group 3 and 3 together to get 9, all you need to do is multiply the basic fact 4 x 9 to get the product 36.

Houghton Mifflin Math Grade 3