For those kinaesthetic learners (the ones that learn by doing and can remember movements more easily than words) here is a handy method for finding the harder multiplication facts from the six, seven, eight and nine times tables. It involves memorising a routine but the routine is something to do, rather than something to say.

The thumb and fingers of each hand are first labelled with the numbers 6 to 10 as in the diagram below. This can be done using stickers at first if the children find it useful.

Then the tips of the two fingers whose numbers are to be multiplied are brought together so they are just touching. For example, to multiply 7 by 8 the tip of the forefinger (labelled 7) must just touch the tip of the middle finger (labelled 8) to form a link. Now the two touching fingers, and all the fingers (and the thumbs) above them, are counted, giving 2 on one hand and 3 on the other – or 5 altogether. This is the number of tens in the total product.

Next we look at the fingers below the link. There are 3 on one hand and 2 on the other. These two numbers are multiplied together, and the product, 6, is added to the 5 tens we already have.

So 7 times 8 is 5 tens, plus 6 – or 56 altogether.

If you're a kinaesthetic learner then you will agree that the movements can be memorised and recalled much more easily than the recited chants of the multiplication tables. Why not try this handy times table method out with some reluctant learners and see how you get on.

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