Video Demo:
The Easy Way to Study Your 4s Times Table - for Girls

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Learning your times table needn't be anywhere near as hard and time-consuming as most people experience. Not because they're stupid, but because the traditional approach to learning them is!

This is certainly not intended to be an attack on those fine parents and teachers who know no better than to put their young ones through the age-old process. But bear with me and see why I believe it's time we shake this whole thing up!

As you read this article, bear in mind there is a very subtle difference between memorizing and remembering tables.


Note 1

These notes are as relevant for girls as for anyone else but many people expect girls to be less competent numerically than boys. This concept has no basis in truth and can truly be harming, especially as there is a risk that girls may automatically accept this ridiculous notion and lower their own expectations of success with the times table.

Taking these ideas into account may lead to different conclusions when considering the times table for children or specifically boys and girls.

Note 2

To be clear, you need to define what you mean by 'easy':

Are you desiring something that's easy to do, makes those times table answers easy to remember and easy to recall, easy to apply in other areas of mathematics and in real life situations, easy to retain over the longer term, or simply an approach that's best matched to your personal learning style to make the learning process easy?

See here for more information about how to take this into account kids, teens and adults.

Note 3

In the Numba Ninja System of mental multiplication, for the 4 times table, when 4 is chosen as the key, the Frog is the picture story that is used.

When 4 is not the chosen key however, other picture stories are used as appropriate.

The Easy Way to Study Your 4s Times Table - for Girls

Study Multiplication

Here is a breakdown of the 4 times table. With the Numba Ninja System, each multiplication problem has a specific key, and this is underlined for each problem here. Special key combinations are used for multiplications above 12 times:

4 times table: up to 20 x 4

0 x 4 = 0
1 x 4 = 4
2 x 4 = 8
3 x 4 = 12
4 x 4 = 16
5 x 4 = 20
6 x 4 = 24
7 x 4 = 28
8 x 4 = 32
9 x 4 = 36
10 x 4 = 40
11 x 4 = 44
12 x 4 = 48
13 x 4 = 52
14 x 4 = 56
15 x 4 = 60
16 x 4 = 64
17 x 4 = 68
18 x 4 = 72
19 x 4 = 76
20 x 4 = 80

Study Ideas

When learning the times table by rote, plain parrot-fashion repetition only taps into the oral experience. This is far less powerful for most people than things that we experience visually. For this reason, pictures can often be used to support rote-learning especially if the mind is able to recall a strong visual image that clearly hooks the multiplication problem to the answer.

Also, be aware of why many people consider the times table to be limited to 12 x 12 when, in this decimal era the number 12 seems a rather strange limit. But this goes back to the days of counting in dozens (e.g. 12 inches in a foot) when an English shilling was worth 12 pennies.

When you take the approach of developing mental multiplication skill to address the need for solving problems listed in the times table, it is really helpful to develop a strategy of identifying the fastest (normally the easiest) route to solving any particular multiplication problem. By doing this at outset, the steps required to arrive at the final answer to the multiplication problem are much easier to handle, and can often be run through at a speed similar to that with which rote-learning students are able to recall the answers from memory.

With practice, the speed difference can be so negligible that any observer may think that you are recalling answers from memory, and certainly with greater confidence in the accuracy of answers.

In recent years, many people have challenged how appropriate it is to attempt to learn the times table up to 12x12. Some prefer to limit the learning objective to 10x10 often citing decimalization as the reason for this, without speaking out the truth which underlies their motivation, being a preference to dumb-down the learning objective as it is then easier to accomplish.

On the other hand, those who value the ability to multiply (typically those who are comfortable themselves and often fail to see the problem through other people's eyes) suggest raising the bar to empower students with skills based on enlarging the times table to cover up to 20x20 or even 100x100. This kind of goal cries out for a skill-based approach, rather than memorization of number facts.

Teaching Ideas