A Fun and simple game showing the importance to know multiplication facts well
Multiplication Facts Should Be Learned First
According to the Ontario school curriculum, multiplication facts and division facts must be mastered at the end of 4th grade. If they are, the students can give a correct answer within a second. No need to count mentally, no need to count on their fingers. When this goal is reached, the students have no problem with the times tables.
How much difficulties school children, who have not mastered the multiplication facts, are inclined to have when learning to solve more complex and advanced calculation problems?
Addition of Fractions are simple when the facts are known
The importance of mastering the times tables becomes very obvious when we consider the addition of fractions with different denominators.
Example: 3/8 + 3/4 + 5/6 =?
To solve this operation, the first thing to do is to find the lowest common multiple for 8, 4 and 6. Someone who have learned their times tables by heart will know, without counting mentally, that 24 is divisible by 8, 4 and 6. Anyone who has not memorized perfectly the multiplication facts, has to count mentally or on their fingers – a long and uncertain process.
Another slow method to find the common denominator would be to write the multiples for each of the denominator.
In our example above this would be:
8, 16, 24, 32, 40, 48
4: 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, 28
6: 12, 18, 24, 30
This is one way to find that 24 is the first number that is repeated in the three sets of multiples. That’s good, but it is far from fluency and if the students do not know their multiplication facts by heart, they must mentally calculate and than write down the multiples.
If the students do not know their times tables, they will eventually get discouraged and say they are null in math. It is therefore easy to understand the importance of mastering the multiplication tables before undertaking the more complex math problems.
This exercise is not intended for young children under grade 6. But grade 6 students, teenagers and adults can have fun checking their skills and speed to calculate the multiplication facts, in seeking the smallest common multiple for each of the following addition of fractions. There is no need to use a calculator, it does not calculate the common multiples.
- Each player has a piece of paper and a pencil.
- The host tells the first equation and the players write it down on their paper: 3/4 + 1/2 + 1/6 + 1/3 = ?
- The players have 1 minute to find the answer.
- At the end of the minute the host says “STOP” and asks the players to show the answers they wrote down.
- For each correct answer, the player gets 5 points. For each wrong answer, s/he gets -2, and -3 for each blank answer.
- Then the host gives the following operation: 2/3 + 1/7 + 5/6 + 1/2 = ? and the steps 3 to 5 are repeated.
- The game continues with steps 2 to 5 using these three equations:
1/5 + 4/15 + 4/9 + 1/3 = ?
3/8 + 7/12 + 1/3 + 3/4 = ?
5/8 + 1/4 + 5/7 + 1/2 = ?
- Count the points and find the winner!
Here are the correct answers in order: 12, 42, 45, 72, 56. Obviously, if you read this article about the game, you will act as the host since you already know the correct answers .
Please let me know how you like this math game, and share in the comment section below any success you may have in learning your times tables . Also if you have any other simple multiplication facts games, I would be very interested to know about them.
Author of “Fun Times!” game
If you find there is room for improvement in mastering your facts, it may interest you to download the Fun Times! iOS app that will be available soon from Fun Times Educational Games Inc. Subscribe to our emails in order to be informed as soon as the app is released – to do so just type your email address in the box on the right.