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Rapid Math Tricks and Tips

Rapid Math Tricks and Tips

Learning how to multiply can be an extremely difficult aspect of mathematics education. As
described in the text (Sousa, 2015), the shift students encounter as they move from counting strategies to
the rote learning of arithmetic facts can cause a major upheaval in their thought process. Keeping this
shift in mind, complete the following:
� Based on the information in the text (Sousa, 2015), analyze the multifaceted issue of how American
students struggle with multiplication tables and why educators should pay particular attention to student
experiences and thought processes while learning them.
� If you teach, or plan to teach, at the elementary level, how do you believe that multiplication tables
should be taught? Is it necessary to memorize them? Why or why not?
� If you teach, or plan to teach, at the high school or college level, how do student experiences with
multiplication table learning impact students at this level?


Rapid Math Tricks and Tips
Learning new number tricks and algorithms

This section expounds on an assessment of the process of learning new tricks and tips
using tricks from days 24 and 28 (Julius, 1992, pp. 151 – 154, 214, 174 – 176, 218 ) . An
explanation of the difficulty in learning the algorithms and tricks, the use of previous knowledge,
and a review of the learning process are expounded below.
Difficulty to learn
The algorithms used in the rapid estimation of multiplication by 34 and 33, as well as the
rapid estimation of division by 33 and 34, were not difficult to learn. This is primarily due to the
structured introduction to the algorithm and the numerous examples in each section. In addition,
the Brain Builder and example exercises make the learning of the new tricks easier.
Previous knowledge used to help in the understanding of the new tricks
Previous knowledge in several topics helps make the learning process of the new tricks
easier. First, the knowledge of basic multiplication and division are instrumental to the
understanding of the tricks, as well as their operation and implementation. Second, the
knowledge of reciprocals is important and is quoted by the author (Julius, 1992, p. 151 ) . A third
topic where previous knowledge helps is estimation, which is important since the author teaches
faster methods of the same.
Review of the learning process
The learning process in both exercises was quite enjoyable. The introduction of new
tricks that help to improve on the time taken on mathematical operations is important for
development and learning (Sousa, 2015) . The use of previous knowledge in learning new tricks
is also quite exciting.


Teaching new tricks and algorithms

This section reviews the process of teaching the tricks on day 24 and day 28 of Julius’
book, where the author explains the use of rapid estimation to determine multiplication by 33 or
34, and division by the same numbers. A discussion of the teaching process, prior knowledge
requirements, and potential challenges follows below.
A description of the process to the student
In explaining the concept to the children, I would begin with a review of the basics of
multiplication, division, decimals, and estimation to jog their memories. A theoretical review of
the workings of the algorithm would follow. I would place emphasis on the use of the tricks at
this point to ensure the students understand the point of dividing and multiplying by three in each
section. I would then take them through a number of examples explaining each step with the
same wording and steps from the theoretical review. I would then give time for individual and
group work, where they attempt a number of examples, before providing exercises as homework
to be graded for an understanding of the concepts.
Prior knowledge requirements and methodology of tapping into that knowledge
The students would require previous knowledge of multiplication, division, estimation
and the decimal system. I would ensure each student is up to speed with the operations of these
topics in order to implement them adequately. To grasp the workings of the algorithm fully, I will
have to tap into their ability to make intermediary estimates and apply the decimal system to
fully use the rapid tricks.
Challenges the student might encounter
The student might face challenges with the thought process in case they are not fully
conversant with the necessary background knowledge required to learn the rapid tricks



Julius, E. H. (1992). Rapid Math Tricks & Tips: 30 Days to the Number Power. New York: Wiley
Sousa, D. A. (2015). How the brain learns mathematics. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin

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