Math Flashcards – Master Multiplication!

My wife and I raised my nephew, because both his parents passed away.  We got an email from his math teacher saying he was failing math during his 4th grade year.   They wanted to retain him.  I tried paper math flashcards, but he resisted.  He would pretend he didn’t know the answer when I knew he did.  I suspect he hoped I would become frustrated and give up.

I searched for computer based math flashcards.  All I could find were tests or games.  Games were more about entertaining the student.  Test programs asked each question one time and gave a percent correct.  I didn’t want games because I wanted him to succeed.  I already had a report card, so I didn’t need a test.  I wanted a practice program.

So, I wrote free math flashcards.  It creates a virtual deck of math flashcards and randomly displays a math flashcard.  If the student provides the correct answer in less than eight seconds, it removes that card from the deck.  Students continue answering problems until they input all 144 answers in less than eight seconds each.  Click here to view it!

Instead of grounding him, I told him he could not have any entertainment  when he came home from school until he completed one virtual deck of free math flashcards every day for a week.  His total study time was 2.5 hours.

I will never forget how my nephew burst into my office after school.  He went from 50% to 100% in one week and he was the first student in his class to complete the test.

The first school to use my math flashcards has renewed for their seventh year and my nephew is a Senior now.  He can still complete 144 problems in ten minutes.  Students normally retain mastery throughout High School and College if they use my math flashcards.

I believe you can have the same success.

Before You Begin (Read First)

Before you study you need to do two things.

1.  Understand the concept of multiplication. Multiplication is an easier way of writing repeated addition.
Example:
You could write:
5 X 4 = 20 (read five times four equals twenty)
OR
4 + 4 + 4 + 4 + 4 = 20
The first way is just a shortcut.

2.  Learn seven simple rules. These rules make most of the table easy. The following pages cover each rule.

Rote Learning vs. Reasoning

While writing Smart Flash Cards, I read several articles about which was best, Rote Learning or Reasoning.  Reasoning is being able to figure out the answer and Rote Learning is memorizing by repetition.

I think the answer is obvious.  You need both.  First Reasoning then Rote Learning.

Why you need reasoning.

If you can reason you will never be stuck.  Let’s look at the example 9 X 12.  If you know 9 X 11 = 99 (Rule 5) and you know that multiplication is simply repeated addition(Before You Begin), then then you will know 9 X 12 = 99 + 9 = 108.  Everyone needs to be able to do that.  If you can’t Reason then Rote Learning will be very difficult.

Why you need Rote Learning.

Reasoning steals focus from the concept you are trying to learn. If you are studying Geometry your focus should be on the Pythagorean theorem  not reasoning out “What is 8 X 8?”  The multiplication table should be automatic.  You should know the answer to every problem like you know your own name.  It saves time, reduces mistakes and allows you to focus on the current lesson.

The First Time You Study

Don’t rush when you begin to study. Sometimes people join Smart Flash Cards Online after a student gets a bad report card. If a student did get a bad report card, they are probably upset, disappointed and concerned about discipline.

I think Smart Flash Cards Online is the easiest way to memorize the multiplication table. Having said that, it is still work. The first deck is the hardest. Below are some things you should consider before a student attempts their first deck of Smart Cards. Sometimes the fastest way to succeed is to wait a day before you start.

Make sure the student is:

  1. Not Hungry.
  2. Not Tired.
  3. Not ill.
  4. No TV in the background.
  5. No Radio in the background.
  6. Not worried about discipline. If they just brought home a bad report card, you may need to give them some support.
  7. The study area should be quiet peaceful, with good lighting.

It’s very important that the student can focus when they study. Try to eliminate distractions.

If you are a parent or teacher and want to add something, please post a comment to this blog.