Skills & Strategies #2 - Four Non-Traditional Ways a Multiplication Table Can Support Mathematical Thinking
Some upper elementary, middle, and high school students do not know their basic multiplication facts. These students not only struggle with using multiplication to find products, but they also have difficulty with other types of math problems and mathematical thinking that require an understanding of the quantitative relationships between specific factors and products, and between specific dividends and quotients. A multiplication table has become an essential tool for my students who lack mastery in multiplication facts. Once students become familiar and comfortable with using a multiplication table (stay tuned for more on to strategies to achieve this), it becomes an ally and a tool that can support their mathematical thinking in ways that cannot be achieved with a calculator. Here are four examples of non-multiplication problems for which a multiplication table can help a student who struggles with his multiplication facts.
1. Finding the Lowest Common Multiple / Lowest Common Denominator
2. Finding the Greatest Common Factor (e.g., Reducing Fractions)
3. Long Division
4. Factoring (e.g., Factoring Polynomials)