When children already know how to add and subtract, they usually feel especially motivated to learn to multiply. In general, this is one of the first mathematical skills that children learn at school since it helps them to do large sums more quickly, but it is also one of the hardest for them to learn.
However, to learn to multiply it is not necessary to resort exclusively to memory since, after all, it is a skill that requires a certain amount of reasoning. In addition, there are many simpler strategies to learn to multiply than repeating the multiplication tables by heart , such as the Pythagorean table.
What is the Pythagorean table?
The Pythagorean table or Pythagorean table is an alternative and more compact way of representing the 10 multiplication tables. It was developed by the famous mathematician Pythagoras centuries ago but even today it is still very useful for children to learn to multiply. The key to its effectiveness lies in the fact that it helps to visualize multiplications in a very simple way, at the same time that it more clearly reflects some mathematical properties such as commutative, the property of exchanging the order of the factors without altering the product, which helps the little ones to appropriate this content more easily.
Basically, the table is made up of a series of columns and rows, on the one hand the multiplicands are located, the numbers that are going to be multiplied, and on the other, the multipliers, the numbers by which they will be multiplied. In the inner part of the table, there are the cells that intersect the top row and the leftmost column, these cells contain the product of each multiplication. For example, to multiply 2×3, the first step is to locate the 2 in the leftmost column and find the 3 in the top row, then look for the cell that intersects that column and row and you will find the result of the multiplication.
One of its great advantages is that it can be multiplied in both directions, that is, placing the multiplicand and the multiplier in the same column on the left or in the upper row. In addition, the fact that it is a single element to handle, instead of 10 different tables, makes it easier to work with the Pythagorean table and helps children to find patterns and symmetries visually, which stimulates their logical thinking. .
3 keys to introduce the child to the Pythagorean table
- Wait for the right moment. One of the most frequent mistakes that parents make when teaching their children to multiply is to introduce them to the tables without their being prepared for it. If children have not learned to add and subtract well and are not mature enough to acquire new content, it will be better to wait until they are ready since forcing them ahead of time could be counterproductive.
- Explain to him what multiplication consists of. Children like to understand the why of things and understand what they are for. In this way they manage to self-motivate, something that is very useful when they have to learn something new. Therefore, you must explain to them if you explain to them what it is for them to learn to multiply, they will feel motivated to work with the Pythagorean table.
- Show him how to do basic multiplication. Before tackling the Pythagorean table, kids need to know how the multiplication process works and understand the underlying reasoning. For this reason, it is important that you start with the basic and simplest multiplications, such as 2×2, 3×3 or 2×3. To work on this concept, you must make him understand that multiplication is based on the successive addition of the same number, so that 3×2 means 2 times 3, that is, 3+3. Once your child has understood how multiplication works, you can teach him the Pythagorean table.