Finger Tables

I learnt this way of working out those tricky 6x 7x and 8x tables at a course a while back. I found it extremely complicated and far harder than just learning the tables – in fact I was the one at the back of the classroom looking puzzled, shaking  head and saying, “I just don’t get it.”  It gave me a real insight into how children must feel at school on occasions!

Anyway, I finally did pick it up, and although I’m not keen on it myself, the rest of the participants loved it. Some even said that they had already used it with some success, so I’m going to share it with you.

The first thing you need to do is give all your fingers a value from 6 (thumbs) to 10 (little fingers).

hands numbered for finger tables

Then you touch together the fingers with the numbers you want to multiply, so 8×8 is done  like this.

finger tables 8 x 8

finger tables 8 x 8So far, so good.  Then comes the bit I don’t like.  All the fingers now change values. The ones from the thumbs to those that are touching become 10s, so here I have 6 fingers (the two which are touching, two index fingers and two thumbs) which become 10s.    6 x 10 = 60.

Then I see how many fingers I have left on each hand – in this case two (ring finger and little finger) and I multiply them by each other: 2 x 2 = 4.

Finally, I add those two answers together.  60 + 4 = 64, so 8 x 8 = 64.

Here’s one more example. 7 x 9 = ?

finger tables 7 x 9I touch the two fingers together, and then give all my fingers from these to my thumbs a value of 10.  That’s 6 fingers, and 6 x 10 = 60.

Then I see how many fingers are left on each hand. I have  1 on my left hand (little finger), and 3 on my right hand middle finger, ring finger and little finger) and I multiply these  together:  1 x 3 = 3. I add the two answers together :  60 + 3 = 63 so 7 x 9 = 63.

It works, but I find it convoluted.  I much prefer to help children learn their tables by heart, using multisensory methods, and you will find my suggestions how to do that here.

What do you think? If any of you have used this method, or try it out after reading this post, I’d love to hear how you got on.

For maths and English tutoring in the north Birmingham, Sandwell and Walsall areas, visit www.sjbteaching.com. For links to other interesting education related articles, come and Like my Facebook page.

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