Friday, April 19, 2013

Times Tables Video

Here is a video that I created that teaches the 3 times tables. It's my first video for children, and hopefully it will be useful. I'll describe my thinking and the background of the video below. I plan to make more videos as I see how this one works.


My Daughter
I have been working with my daughter on the times tables. One of the things I have realized is that learning the times tables requires two different capacities: (1) the ability to calculate each of the calculations (e.g. 2 X 7) and (2) the ability to simply memorize the correct answer (in my daughter's case, this means memorizing calculations for numbers 1 through 12).

Categorizing these Capacities
I would categorize the calculations capacity as a cognitive skill and the memorization as more of a behavioral response. Because they are fundamentally different types of capacities, they require different instructional practices. The cognitive skill of calculating probably requires lots of explanation, examples, practice and feedback, and lots of hand on activities. In contrast, the memorization simply requires drill and practice through rote memorization. Both are important - the ability to calculate is important for later math skills, and the memorization skill aids greatly in the ability to move quickly with more complex calculations.

I noticed that my daughter was doing great with the calculations but hadn't yet started memorizing the times tables very well. She struggled for a while, but when we changed our strategy to one of direct memorization with drill and practice, and she memorized a dozen calculations in about 40 minutes. I decided to put together this video as a way to further enhance her memorization. I think that this video will work best if we alternate between watching the video a few times (demonstration) and practice with flash cards (application and feedback).

We'll see how it goes...

4 comments:

thegardnerthree said...

You are such a great dad! It is amazing to watch her do her times tables, now. She just whips through them and loves to do them now! Such a great video. So simple, yet SO helpful!

joel gardner said...

Thanks, Katie! I hope it is helpful to her (and to others!)

Jeff said...

Another thought to try... I wonder if it would be helpful to keep prior calculations on the screen so she can see the pattern develop as she multiples. i.e. if she know 2x5 is 10 then 2x6 is 2 more...
(I lose something in the formatting, but...)

x 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ...
2 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 ...

...and I don't know if you seen one of the tricks for multiplying a number by 9, but put your hands flat on the table, fingers out. If you are multiplying 9x4, count to the fourth finger from the left and bend that finger down. You should have 3 fingers to the left of the bent finger and 6 to the right... or 36 (=9x4). Works all the way up to 9x10!

joel gardner said...

A good suggestion, Jeff. I have seen some videos do this, which I thought was meaningful. My intent with the video was to train to automation, and I wanted all the attention to focus on the numbers being multiplied, so I didn't want any additional distractions.

As far as the 9 trick, that is awesome! My daughter was doing that, but I didn't get it. Thanks for explaining it!