Learning multiplication is one the the staple requirements of maths education. I remember, as a child, reciting times tables in class at school. I remember the challenge of learning a new times table by heart. I remember how it opened up the capacity for higher mathematical skills. Yes, there is no doubt, learning multiplication is important. However, it can be dull to simply sit down and learn it by rote. Therefore, I am always looking for interesting ways to learn it.
When I came across the Waldorf approach to multiplication, I was entranced. This wasn't just mathematics; it was art. I knew I had to show this to the children and allow them to try it out for themselves.
I started off with showing them multiplication circles. These are a great way to learn the times times by drawing lines to different points on the circle. The above video explains the concept wonderfully.
After we had watched the video, I gave the children a worksheet with empty circles on it and some coloured pens and we got started.
Here you can see the finished multiplication circles done by D. Each times table makes a different shape on the circle. I love how D coloured in the shapes afterwards.
R did not quite finish his. It was more difficult for him to understand as he's only 5. However, he had a good go.
Making a multiplication book
We then made multiplication books using these diagrams. First, we got some A4 card and cut each piece into 4.
Next, the children cut out each circular diagram and stuck one to each page of their book. They wrote the full times table on the opposite pages.
The 2 times table.
The 3 times table.
We used ribbon to hold all the pages together and decorated the front cover. I think these will be nice little booklets for the children to look through in their own time.
Multiplication weaving on paper plates
Next, I thought it would be good to turn this into a more practical exercise. I got some paper plates and some wool in order to do some weaving.
The children wrote the numbers from 0 to 9 around the outside of the plate, marked 10 equal spaces around the edge and then cut two slits very close to each other where they had drawn the marks.
Then they chose their wool and began to weave it in and out, according to the three times table (they chose this one to weave as it looked the most interesting).
Here are the finished plates.
Finally, we moved on to multiplication flowers. These are such a beautiful way to learn the times table. You start off writing the number of the times table in the centre.
Then you draw 10 small leaves all the way round. Lastly, draw bigger leaves coming out from the small leaves to write the answers in.
We cut out the flowers and stuck some green lolly sticks on to make the stem and tissue paper to make the leaves.
Here is R's flower.
These crafts were a lot of fun to make and really captured the children's interest. D has been so taken with the multiplication circles that she has practised the 3 times table multiplication circle every day for about the last week and now she knows it by heart.
Do you have any fun ways to learn the times tables?