Before we discuss this great method of multiplying numbers, this is a great resource available online to improve your times tables and multiplication skills that users of the site have purchased and found very useful.
None the less, I came across this method though a Japanese friend and it shows how Japanese pupils learn to multiply in maths lessons at a young age. 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! You can also take a look at some hints and tips to memorise your times tables and learning your 13,14,15,16,17,18,19 to 20 times tables as a resource to help pupils develop this skill. You can also take a look at this video by Professor Arthur Benjamin that suggests that all you need to know is 3 simple facts to remember your times tables.
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. Be sure to check out the reviews for some great resources available on the site to help in the teaching of Maths.
How Japanese Kids Learn to Multiply Video Tutorial
A good way to introduce this starter is to put up a map of the world and get learners to point out Japan on the map. As a teacher you can then move into how Japanese Pupils learn to multiply and follow one of the examples below. You do not need to learn Japanese but if you teach the Japanese words for multiply, divide, add and subtract it would be a great example of cross curricular activities and SMSC.
Five Examples of the Japanese Multiplication Method