Manipulatives and models are helpful tools when learning the times tables. And, the best multiplication tools are the ones students have with them all the time—their fingers! Multiplication using fingers is one of the best strategies you can teach students to help them memorize harder multiplication facts.
Using Fingers to Multiply 6-10
When multiplying two factors that are both between 6-10, multiplication using fingers is a great tool.
The first step is assigning the following numbers to each finger. Make sure that when you are looking at your hands, your palms are facing up and the same number is assigned to the same fingers on each hand.
To use this strategy:
- Touch the two fingers that represent the numbers being multiplied.
- Count each finger from the ones that are touching to the bottom of each hand. This number represents the tens place in the product.
- Multiply the fingers on each hand that are above the touching fingers. This number represents the ones place in the product.
This multiplication using fingers strategy works with any two factors that are both between 6-10. But, I mostly use this strategy when teaching how to multiply by 6, 7, or 8. These are the times tables that students tend to struggle with the most, and this easy tool helps students become more comfortable with those math facts.
Using Fingers to Multiply by 9
There is a different multiplication using fingers strategy that can be used when multiplying by 9.
The first step is assigning the following numbers to each finger. Make sure that when you are looking at your hands, your palms are facing up with the thumbs on the outside.
To use this strategy:
- Starting with the finger that represents 1, count to the number you are multiplying 9 by. In the example, you are multiplying by 4 so you count to the finger that represents 4.
- Bend that finger down.
- Count the fingers to the left of the bent finger by tens. In the example, there are 3 fingers to the left of the bent finger. By counting those fingers by tens, you get 30.
- Count the fingers to the right of the bent finger by ones. In the example, there are 6 fingers to the right of the bent finger.
- Add the tens and ones together to find the product. In the example, 30 + 6 = 36. Therefore, 9 x 4 = 36.
Times Tables Games and Activities
Teaching the times tables is a year-long process. In addition to teaching students strategies (like the multiplication using fingers strategies shown here), it is helpful to also use lots of times tables games, activities, and centers throughout the school year for repetition and to help them memorize the multiplication facts.
If you want to take the stress out of planning your times tables lessons altogether, check out my Multiplication and Division Facts Unit. The unit comes with everything you need to teach and practice the times tables throughout the school year (220+ pages of content). You can find my unit for up to 10×10 facts HERE and my unit for up to 12×12 facts HERE.
The activities below are just a few of the activities you will find the Multiplication and Division Facts Unit.
I also have times tables task cards in my store. My Multiplication and Division Facts Task Cards come with 28 task cards that model the types of questions that students may see on the math SOL test. The resource includes a PDF version and a self-checking, digital version for Google Forms. You can find the task cards HERE.
I hope these multiplication using fingers strategies help your students learn their times tables!
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