North Americans have a standardized method for teaching math to kids and teachers have taught multiplication the same way for decades. But what if there was another way to teach multiplication that could help the kids who are having difficulty?
Japanese kids learn to multiply with a completely different method than the one kids in the US do. The Japanese math voodoo/magic is more of a visual technique where you draw lines and count the intersections.
The great thing is that you do not need to learn Japanese to master this method, all you need to do is to be able to draw and count lines and dots. You actually multiply without actually multiplying!
The Japanese method has proven very popular from the retweets and the feedback I have received from fellow practitioners. To date it has been carried out as a Maths starter to thousands and thousands of Maths learners around the world. Pupils are taught this method in Japanese primary schools at a very early age to develop the ability to multiply large numbers. There are a number of examples at the bottom of this article. Before you watch the video below you can also take a look at this learning times tables system that many parents have found useful in improving their kids times tables skills.
Now for the Japanese Method, when looking at this process it makes you ponder how we are teaching Mathematics to the kids of tomorrow in the west in comparison to the learning of Japanese students. I have had a few Japanese students confirm that this is how they learnt to multiply and have said that they found learning this method easy as all you need is the ability to draw parallel lines and count dots.
he Math Behind the Fact: The Distributivity of Multiplication
The method works because the number of parallel lines are like decimal placeholders and the number of dots at each intersection is a product of the number of lines. You are then summing up all the products that are coefficients of the same power of 10. Thus in the example shown in fig. 1:
23 x 12 = (2x10 + 3)(1×10 + 2) = 2x1x102 + [2x2x10 + 3x1x10] + 3x2 = 276
The diagrams display actually this multiplication visually. The method can be generalized to products of 3-digit numbers (or even more) using more sets of parallel lines. It can also be generalized to products of 3-numbers using cubes of lines rather than squares.