If you look at a 10 by 10 multiplication table, you’d think there were 100 facts that need to be memorized.

 X 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 2 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 3 3 6 9 12 15 18 21 24 27 30 4 4 8 12 16 20 24 28 32 36 40 5 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 6 6 12 18 24 30 36 42 48 54 60 7 7 14 21 28 35 42 49 56 63 70 8 8 16 24 32 40 48 56 64 72 80 9 9 18 27 36 45 54 63 72 81 90 10 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100

1. First important fact is that the order we multiply numbers doesn’t change the answer. So let’s remove all of the unnecessary facts to memorize because we can just remember this rule instead.

 X 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 2 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 3 3 6 9 12 15 18 21 24 27 30 4 4 8 12 16 20 24 28 32 36 40 5 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 6 6 12 18 24 30 36 42 48 54 60 7 7 14 21 28 35 42 49 56 63 70 8 8 16 24 32 40 48 56 64 72 80 9 9 18 27 36 45 54 63 72 81 90 10 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100

Now we only have 55 facts to memorize. That’s a lot less than 100. I’m willing to bet that most people know this already.

2. We should take advantage of the fact that one times anything is the anything. That will remove 10 more facts from the table.

 X 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 2 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 3 3 6 9 12 15 18 21 24 27 30 4 4 8 12 16 20 24 28 32 36 40 5 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 6 6 12 18 24 30 36 42 48 54 60 7 7 14 21 28 35 42 49 56 63 70 8 8 16 24 32 40 48 56 64 72 80 9 9 18 27 36 45 54 63 72 81 90 10 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100

3. And of course we should note that ten times anything and you just add a zero (which in later years should be changed to move the decimal place once students are aware a decimal place exists).

 X 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 2 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 3 3 6 9 12 15 18 21 24 27 30 4 4 8 12 16 20 24 28 32 36 40 5 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 6 6 12 18 24 30 36 42 48 54 60 7 7 14 21 28 35 42 49 56 63 70 8 8 16 24 32 40 48 56 64 72 80 9 9 18 27 36 45 54 63 72 81 90 10 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100

4. There is a great trick that is used in Stand and Deliver which can eliminate the nine times column. I couldn’t find the original clip from the movie, but here’s the same trick with a bit more explanation than he gave in the movie.

Let’s then cut out the nines times column from the table and look at what’s left.

 X 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 2 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 3 3 6 9 12 15 18 21 24 27 30 4 4 8 12 16 20 24 28 32 36 40 5 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 6 6 12 18 24 30 36 42 48 54 60 7 7 14 21 28 35 42 49 56 63 70 8 8 16 24 32 40 48 56 64 72 80 9 9 18 27 36 45 54 63 72 81 90 10 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100

5, 6. The two times column and the five times column are just adding by twos and adding by fives, both of which are skills kids should have mastered by the time they are learning multiplication. If they haven’t mastered repeated addition, I would recommend pausing here and having them master it before learning multiplication.

 X 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 2 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 3 3 6 9 12 15 18 21 24 27 30 4 4 8 12 16 20 24 28 32 36 40 5 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 6 6 12 18 24 30 36 42 48 54 60 7 7 14 21 28 35 42 49 56 63 70 8 8 16 24 32 40 48 56 64 72 80 9 9 18 27 36 45 54 63 72 81 90 10 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100

7, 8, 9, 10. We can also make multiplication by 6, 7, 8, and 9 much easier using the following tricks shown in the movie clip below. This works out to about 4 things to remember to be able to do this trick because of the complexity of this trick.

Now let’s look at what’s left to memorize.

 X 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 2 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 3 3 6 9 12 15 18 21 24 27 30 4 4 8 12 16 20 24 28 32 36 40 5 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 6 6 12 18 24 30 36 42 48 54 60 7 7 14 21 28 35 42 49 56 63 70 8 8 16 24 32 40 48 56 64 72 80 9 9 18 27 36 45 54 63 72 81 90 10 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100

So now students only have 3 multiplications to remember. Even better, all of these are fairly small numbers so that if they get stuck, they can just count it out using repeated addition. For those of you keeping track, this means we can reduce the entire multiplication table to just 13 total facts to remember. Not bad!

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