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Learning multiplication is one of the most important concepts that second and third grade students need to master. In order to become successful math students, they must not only memorize their multiplication facts, they must also understand the fundamental concept behind multiplication---it’s simply repeated addition. Back in my day (when there were nine planets!) I learned my times tables the old fashion way--good ole rote memorization and constant repetition. After failing a multiplication test at school, my dad made me sit down at the kitchen table everyday after school for a month and practice a set of multiplication facts. One day I would do my 2’s (2 x 0 = 2, 2 x 1 = 2, etc.), the next I would work the 3’s (3 x 0 = 3, 3 x 1 = 3, etc.). At the time I thought these activities were boring and useless but when I experienced the results, better test scores and faster recall of multiplication facts, I began to trust that constant practice of my multiplication facts would lead to better math grades.

Having overcome math challenges as a child, I can certainly relate to those that have a fear of math. On one occasion was teaching algebra to ninth graders and I had a student who was getting low test scores. At first I thought she did not understand the algebra concept I was teaching. But when I thoroughly evaluated her math skills I discovered that she did not know her multiplication facts past three! I was dumbfounded that a student could enter the ninth grade without being able to easily recall their times tables. Nonetheless, she was not successful in algebra and had to go back and learn basic multiplication concepts. This should not happen.

Although this extreme experience is not a reflection of most math students, it is critical that once students matriculate past third grade that they are comfortable with multiplication. Learning multiplication facts is the foundation for success in advanced arithmetic as well as algebra and beyond. According to Michael Priyev, founder of New Founder of New York City's Eureka Math Tutors, students who struggle with math in “later elementary school and beyond are often missing vital foundation elements.”

While this is true for a number of math topics (addition, subtraction, division, place value, fractions etc.), in this article I will focus on helping parents and teachers with tips for helping students improve their multiplication skills. **1) Understand the basic concept of Multiplication**At its core, multiplication is simply repeated addition. In practice two multiplied by four (2 x 4) with look like this: 2 + 2 + 2 and 4 multiplied by 5 (4 x 5) looks like this: 4 + 4 + 4 + 4 + 4. If students fail to understand the fundamental concepts behind multiplication, they may have difficulty memorizing the multiplication table. This could also lead to problems in higher level math (algebra) when they encounter multiplying exponents or square roots.

--Chinese proverb

For second and third grade students mastering the multiplication table can be a daunting task. So it is important that they use the “Small Bit Theory.” This means that they should learn their times tables in small chunks. Master one section and move on. As they master their 1’s multiplication facts, they move on to the 2’s, etc. Trying to memorize too many multiplication facts at one time may lead to frustration and an overall bad experience. In later years this leads to a

Here are basic properties of multiplication:

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Bonus fact about multiplication facts:

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