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ERIC Number: EJ1060305
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-May
Pages: 12
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1073-5836
Three Steps to Mastering Multiplication Facts
Kling, Gina; Bay-Williams, Jennifer M.
Teaching Children Mathematics, v21 n9 p548-559 May 2015
"That was the day I decided I was bad at math." Countless times, preservice and in-service teachers make statements such as this after sharing vivid memories of learning multiplication facts. Timed tests; public competitive games, such as Around the World; and visible displays of who has and has not mastered groups of facts still resonate as experiences that led them to doubt their mathematical abilities. Others who appeared to be successful with such activities have shared such statements as these: "We learned a song for every fact. I can find any fact quickly, but I still need to sing the song first" and "I use the nines finger trick but have no idea how or why it works." Are these people "truly" fluent with their multiplication facts? Helping students develop fluency with their multiplication facts is arguably one of the most important goals of teachers in grades 3-5. To achieve this goal, these questions must be answered: (1) What does fluency mean? (2) What approaches to building fluency with multiplication facts help students become confident and competent mathematical thinkers? (3) What does meaningful practice look like? This article explores these questions in the following sections: (1) Understanding fluency; (2) Sequencing and developing strategies; and (3) Meaningful practice. Teachers can better support their students as they develop mathematically robust, flexible understandings of multiplication facts and beyond by following the three steps discussed in this article. (A bibliography is included. An appendix of additional games can be found in the online article.)
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. 1906 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1502. Tel: 800-235-7566; Tel: 703-620-3702; Fax: 703-476-2970; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 3; Primary Education; Early Childhood Education; Grade 4; Intermediate Grades; Grade 5; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A