Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Multiplication Cookies (and other ways to learn the tables)

     Anna is a very right brained, visual- kinesthetic learner, so when it came time to start learning the times tables, I knew she would need more than just going through the tables a few times.  One of the ways she learned that multiplication is the same thing as adding equal groups, is through making cookies. 
    First we made some Icebox Sugar Cookies last night.  These are great cookies for this activity, since you can slice off however many cookies you need right then. 
     This is how it works.  The cookie represents the "groups of", and the chocolate chips are how many that are in the group.  So, 2 x 3 would be two cookies with three chocolate chips on each one.

On the left half of the cookie sheet there are four groups of five chips. On the right, there are five groups of four chips.  I had her do it this way to demonstrate how if you reverse the numbers in the problem, the product is the same. Twenty chips.  She did a few more problems, until I decided that we had enough cookies for one day.
                                                      Multiplication never tasted so good!

     Some other things we've been doing is tossing bean bags back and fourth, while skip counting the tables. Once I feel that she's got the counting down pretty well, I'll say, "3x4 is..." and toss.  Then she says "12" and tosses back to me.  She loves doing this, and seeing how fast we can go.

     This is my favorite multiplication tool.  I saw someone do this on a chalk board, and though it would be fun to make one out of wood and string.  A couple of hours in my shop and, Ta da! My multiplication circle.  The point of it is to make different shapes by going through the tables.  This is the one times. As you can see it's not that interesting, since you're just counting. But it gets better.
This is the two times. A pentagon!  The string is wrapped around twice, since every time you pass the 0, the invisible tens place goes up one. So 0 becomes 10, 2 becomes 12, etc.
Here's the three times.  This is when it really gets neat.  At first it seems like you are just doing some random lines, and then a ten pointed star appears!
This is the last one. After this the shapes repeat, and the five times is just a line.  The four times is a five pointed star.  I love it.  Isn't math beautiful?


  1. Yes, you have made math quite beautiful. I love the last multiplication tool so much! Thanks for sharing it with us.

  2. I LOVE your multiplication circle. Its simply beautiful how math and art come together. Would you mind sharing how you made it? I'd love to make one for my kids

    - Rebecca :)