Of all the multiplication facts, students tend to struggle most with the 6, 7, and 8 times tables. Unlike other times tables, there are not as many helpful tips and tricks students can use to memorize those multiplication facts. But, there are some easy strategies students can use to help them quickly find the products for multiplication problems that use 6, 7, and 8.
6, 7, and 8 Times Tables Strategies
For some times tables, there are simple tricks or models that can be used. There are not any tips or tricks that are specific to the 6, 7, and 8 times tables, but there are general strategies that work well with these multiplication facts. I like to teach students strategies that involve using hand tricks, known facts, or one-to-one correspondence.
Multiplication Tables Hand Tricks
Did you know that your hands can be an easy tool for multiplying any two facts between 6 and 10? 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 strategy is often a game-changer for students when it comes to learning their 6, 7, and 8 times tables!
You can find more finger tricks that are used to learn other multiplication tables HERE.
Use Known Facts
One of the best ways to learn the 6, 7, and 8 times tables is by using known multiplication facts. Known facts refer to multiplication facts that students have already memorized. Most likely, students know their multiplication facts for numbers such as 2, 5, and 10. So, they can use a problem that has one of those numbers as a factor to solve.
For example, students may not know the product of 7 x 6, but they likely know the product of 7 x 5. So, they can add 7 to the product of 7 x 5.
They can also use repeated addition on top of a product they already know. For example, if they do not know 7 x 8, they can find the product of 7 x 5. Then, they can add 7 to the product three times.
Using known facts can be applied to any multiplication facts, but it works especially well with the 6, 7, and 8 times tables.
Use One-to-One Correspondence to Multiply
The one-to-one correspondence strategy is best for visual learners. If you are unfamiliar, one-to-one correspondence is a counting strategy that is often taught during the primary grades as students move from counting objects to rote counting. When counting with one-to-one correspondence, students have a set of objects and count each object in the set once. Usually, they will touch or mark each object as it is counted.
This concept can be applied in the upper elementary grades when learning multiples and multiplication facts. When using one-to-one correspondence to multiply, draw a row of dots at the top of the page that represents one of the factors in the multiplication problem. For example, if the student is multiplying 7 x 6, they will draw 7 dots at the top of their paper in a horizontal line.
Next, they will count the dots by touching their pencil to each dot and saying the number aloud or in their head. After they count each dot in the row, they will write the total. Then, they will go back to the beginning of the row of dots and resume counting where they left off, writing the total each time they get to the end of the row.
In the problem 7 x 6, students will write 7 after counting the row of dots once. Then, they will start with 8 when they begin counting the row of dots again. Each time that they get to the end of the row, they will write the last number said. In doing this, they will be writing the multiples of 7 as they count. They will continue counting the row the number of times as the other factor. In this case, they will count the row of 7 dots 6 times to find the product of 7 x 6.
6, 7, and 8 Times Tables Games and Activities
With any set of multiplication facts, repetition is important. There are lots of games and activities that you can use with the 6, 7, and 8 times tables that will help students memorize and retain these facts.
All of the games and activities listed here are included in my Multiplication and Division Facts Unit. The unit includes detailed lesson plans, worksheets, games, digital activities, and assessments. Versions of the unit are available that use facts up to 10×10 and facts up to 12×12.
Fly Swatter Multiplication Fact Practice
For this game, you need one fly swatter for each team that will be playing. The only setup that is involved is writing all of the multiples for any set of facts on the board. You can decide whether to only write each multiple one time or write the multiples more than once, depending on how many teams will be playing. To play:
- Each team will stand in a line facing the board.
- Hand the students at the front of each line a fly swatter. Ask the first students to come up to the board and stand with their backs to it.
- Say a multiplication fact that corresponds with the multiples on the board. Count down from three. The students must turn around, locate the correct product, and slap it with their fly swatters.
- The first student to slap the correct answer wins the round and their team receives a point.
Color by Number Activity
An easy but effective activity when practicing the 6, 7, and 8 times tables is a color-by-number activity. Learning multiplication facts can be stressful. Coloring is a great stress reliever. Therefore, coloring as they practice their multiplication facts may help students relieve some of the anxiety that they may be feeling.
I love playing trashketball because it gets all of the students involved at the same time. For this game, you only need scratch paper and a trashcan. To play:
- Divide the class into pairs or small teams. Give each team an individual whiteboard and marker.
- Write a multiplication fact on the board for the class to see. Each team should write the product on their boards and hide their answers. When instructed, all of the teams should hold up their answers at the same time. Each correct team receives a piece of paper to crumple into a ball.
- Repeat the process several times, allowing students to collect paper to make into balls.
- When time is up, line each team up near a trashcan. Each team will take turns throwing their crumpled balls at the trashcan. The team that scores the most points wins the game.
Multiplication Task Cards
When I am in a time crunch and need to throw together a quick review activity, task cards are my go-to. I love task cards because they require zero prep time. There are also so many games you can play with task cards so that students don’t get tired of playing the same games all the time.
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.
6, 7, and 8 Timed Tests
You’re probably thinking there is nothing new about timed multiplication quizzes, and you are right. Timed multiplication quizzes have been around forever and that is because they are effective.
Even though timed quizzes are nothing new, you can find new ways to get students excited about them. Some things you can try include:
- Encourage students to beat their former score each week.
- Change the amount of time students will have to complete the timed quiz each week.
- Offer rewards or incentives for answering a certain number correctly in the given amount of time.
- Create a theme around each week’s timed quiz.
The 6, 7, and 8 times tables are often challenging for students. When it comes to teaching these multiplication facts, I like to start by giving students a few strategies they can use with these factors. Then, we play a lot of games for repetition and to help them memorize these multiplication facts.
If you’re looking for strategies and games that can be applied to all multiplication facts, you can find my favorite tips and ideas HERE.
And, if you want to take the stress out of planning your times tables lessons altogether, don’t forget to 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.
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