Elementary school mathematics

Anyone here have kids in elementary school?

Are they being taught their multiplication tables?

If so, or if not, please state the school district you’re in.

Here in Cheyenne I’ve got a friend who says his grandkids (8 and 11) aren’t being taught the tables and aren’t supposed to learn them outside school hours. (Though that’s a function of their mother, who apparently threw away the flashcards he made for his grandkids featuring the tables from 1 through 10). She’s apparently of the opinion that the kids have to learn what’s being taught in school and nothing else.

And this is a woman who is the director of some kind of health organization, so presumably she has a college degree and should know the value of education…

Are they being taught another method for multiplication? Our traditional methods of teaching math by memorization may not be ideal…

He didn’t mention it. It all came up because he was talking about how he was trying to help his grandsons with their math homework. The 11 year old couldn’t do long division, because he didn’t know his multiplication tables. The 8 year old just basically pisses and moans throughout the whole homework process apparently

Our traditional methods of teaching math by memorization may not be ideal…

I learned my multiplication tables 50 years ago at least and I still remember them to this day. I don’t think it was that hard. (Course I only learned the 1s through the 10s, didn’t bother with 11 and 12.)

The kids in Multnomah county are taught how to use a calculator. That’s it. My niece had no idea how to even check her work until I showed her how to do the work by hand. Your tax dollars at work dumbing down the populace to make obedient workers for the future. We don’t need math when computers can math for us. Besides smart people ask too many questions.

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The problem is that memorization is not helpful in more complex mathematics, and other methods are,

I can’t say yay or nay on that, as I don’t know any other ways of learning multiplication tables except to memorize them.

What is the alternate way?

I have heard that that’s where the Asian people fall down. They’re great at memorization, and so excel at Math Bowls and all that stuff, but when it comes to theoretical stuff, most can’t do anything. (That’s very vague, but that’s also my total understanding of it. :wink: )

Multiplication tables are just addition. Being able to break down math into pieces that fits your brain is the key at getting better at it, especially the larger the problem (when carrying starts to become silly and tedious).

Not completely against memorizing tables, but I also don’t think our results are very impressive based on traditional methods.

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I can only speak for myself - but as far as I’m concerned, memorizing and learning are two different things.

It’s the difference in remembering that 5 x 5 = 25 and intrinsicly understanding why 5 x 5 = 25.

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Much of learning, education, etc., involves a fair degree of memorization.

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True. But math ends up being more about breaking things down into parts to find shortcuts, and that can start with simple multiplication. You may be slower than someone who memorized a table, but when the numbers grow that quickly changes,

I used Saxon mathematics texts while home schooling my children, classical education, later switching over to Singapore Math. Saxon is straight classical mathematics, while Singapore is classical with some enhancements.

Opinions vary.

But my daughter went on to get a Ph.D. in bio-engineering, so I can say she definitely got the conceptual basis down pat. :smile:


I have an eighth grader. She learned multiplication around third and fourth grade.

That is correct. Multiplication is essentially just a shortcut means of doing addition.

Every time math education gets tweaked, I think of satirist Tom Lehrer’s song about a trend in the 60s called “The New Math”. The video is a guy lip-synching to one of Lerher’s performances. Tom Lehrer: New Math - YouTube

Common Core vs Old Math

The New Math, courtesy of Abbot and Costello. :smile:


Here’s a link to their 3rd grade math curriculum. Public schools do do not, cannot, keep their instructional practices/content hidden from the public. You simply have to ask.


Wow…I couldn’t believe what I was seeing in that “Common Core” video.

Is that really how they teach kids to do multiplication these day?

Talk about dumbing down the simplest concepts!

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Yeah, that’s the curriculum… (And thanks for that…I hadn’t realized that stuff was online. I"m gonna look at their history curriculum!)

But, it doesn’t specify how they teach those things. If that common core video on how to multiply 35 X 12 was was accurate…that was frightening!


I’m not a math teacher, but I trust these new instructional methods are based on sound research by experts in the field, and are not just some pie-in-the-sky liberal nonsense.

As a taxpaying citizen of the district, you have the right to ask questions about what and how the children are taught.