"Do I have to do math today?” You know you’ve heard this. In that whiny voice with the drawn-out words. Like doing math is the equivalent of being stretched on the rack or worse… I can almost guarantee that the child who is saying it has one particular characteristic. There are other reasons out there, but my pretty-close-to-an-expert opinion is that this one cause is the main one, the most widespread – and it’s a simple fix.
…here’s what I’ve noticed: by a large margin, the kids who hate math generally have one thing in common – they don’t know their multiplication facts.
The kids who love math, or at least tolerate it, are the ones who know their multiplication tables so well that they don’t have to think about them. Like at all.
And one of the things I want you to realize is that this is a COMMON problem…we don’t ever strive for mastery.
It’s like music. If you are trying to learn piano and you never bother to master the notes on the staff, how well would you do?
Here is just a sampling of the topics that depend on the multiplication tables:
–multiplication of 2- and 3-digit numbers and decimal numbers
–least common multiple and greatest common factor
–adding and subtraction fractions
–converting between improper fractions and mixed numbers
–word problems involving distance, rate, and time
–word problems involving money, tax, interest
–area, volume, surface area
–solving systems of equations
–factoring quadratic expressions
–graphing linear equations
–equivalent and similar triangles
–um, and basically all of trigonometry, matrices, and anything more complex like calculus, hello
The goal is 1 second or less, y’all. If they can’t do most facts that quickly, then it’s time to stop plodding through math lessons…and instead LEARN those buggers.
Dare I say the dreaded word? MEMORIZATION. Sometimes ya just gotta do it.