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Posted Mon Sep 22 18:49:20 PDT 2008 by Roxanne Eckenrode (Roxanne Eckenrode).

Charlotte Amalie High School, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

Materials Required: "Barrington and the Math Princess"

Activity Time: part of 2 school days and a weekend

Concepts Taught: times table, times tables, multiplication facts

The students and I play the game "Seven" to help with the multiplication facts that have seven as a factor. I learned this game from a student a few years ago. Many variations are played with names like "Boom". The clapping makes it special. The others that are verbal only are sometimes even played as 'drinking games', definitely not for school. Students stand in a circle, and the first person claps as s/he says "One". The person to their left claps 'a silent two', so they clap, but do not say anything. The next person claps 'a silent three' and so on, but when you get to any number where 7 is a factor or a digit (so multiples of 7 like 7, 14, and 21, and numbers with 7 as a digit like 17, 27, 37, etc.), the person looks like they are going to dramatically clap, but stops many inches short of making contact, so that the motion suggests a definite stop before clapping and end to their turn. After someone claps the first 'unclap' at 7, the next person actually claps for 8 (not saying 8). This continues. If someone messes up (hesitates, tells someone else they are wrong incorrectly, claps when they shouldn't, or stops short of a clap when they shouldn't; they are out in a quick elimination. That person sits down. Then play starts over to that person's left with an out loud "1 clap", "silent 2 clap", etc. This continues until only 1 person is left. Students love this game. It really helps with the 7's table. You have to have many practice rounds for them to learn the game. "Seven" may be varied to "Eight", etc., depending on the needs of your students.We also play "Around the World" with multiplication facts (among other things). 2 students stand, the teacher asks a ? like 7 times 8, and each student tries to say the answer first. If Student A accidentally incorrectly says "64", the teacher points to the other student and says, "Free throw". Then that person can take a few extra seconds to think. If neither student gets it right, those 2 get a new ?. (The same is true for ties.) The winner of the two students remains standing and 'faces off' in the same way with the next student. A student who goes "Around the World" or beats the whole class, wins. Once students are getting good at this with multiplication facts, the teacher switches, giving them products of pairs of numbers from 3-9 inclusive, such that when s/he says "49", the competing students say "7 x 7". The criteria for pairs of factors must be heavily explained and when 24 and 36 are given, the teacher might want to say something like, "6 x 6 is one way to factor 36; name another"

The 2 games above are played for part of a Friday period, and then students are assigned over the weekend to read the story (under 30 pages) "Barrington and the Math Princess" which has many mnemonic devices for memorizing the multiplication facts.

On Monday students take a 2 minute multiplication fact quiz that gives all 49 possible questions using factors from 3-9 inclusive. Students share misses, memory techniques are solicited and reviewed, and more "Seven" and "Around the World" may be played. Future review is embedded in the context of other problems, such as those involving decimals, fractions, and algebraic expressions and equations.