With students coming back to campus, the Covid gap is rearing its head, reminding us how the last two years have acted as a slippery slope for our young ones. It has been a pleasure to hear laughter in the corridors, and it gives teachers renewed hope that we can bridge the learning gap.
Math has taken a hit in particular. Students who did well online are faltering on campus. Conceptual understanding is hazy at best for some. However, the best part of being back on school grounds is making learning fun again, even when you have to start from scratch!
The need for ‘Multiplication Mania’
Students had easy access to calculators and multiplication table charts while online. I felt that the need of the hour for my students was to learn the time’s tables, as this would make number operations such as multiplication and division easy.
How to begin-
I began by priming my students, encouraging them to learn their tables over a week or two. Then, I started weaning them off the multiplication table charts stuck on their desks until they were comfortable working with memory.
I started having times table entry and exit tickets. Students had to answer a random times table question to enter or exit the class. If they could answer, they could go about as they pleased. This activity also gave me a fair idea of who was struggling and needing help. I assigned buddies to them who would quiz them whenever they finished their work before time.
I took sheets of two different colours as I would have two teams for the game. Using each colour, I cut long strips with multiplication times tables equations. For example, on both a pink and green long strip, I would write ‘8X8=___’. I wrote the same questions on both colours to be fair to both teams.
I wrote the answers in both colours on smaller squares. I made approximately 16-18 sets of equations and solutions for each team.
How to play-
The teams were lined up in two rows. In front of them were placed the long strips containing the equations (face down). I put the answer squares above them, also face down. Once the game began, students had to flip the equation strips and find the correct answer in the squares. They had to neatly form the entire equation on the side and tag the next teammate in. Whichever team finished all equations first won the game!
The children had a great time playing the game. If you have students who are still struggling, assign them a buddy during the game. Alternatively, the students can be seated near the answer-squares and play this as a memory game. As each child picks an equation and flips the squares for answers, others can watch and memorize the location of various numbers. Then, when their turn comes, they can recollect where the answer is to win in in a jiffy!