A Literature Major Teaching Math:

Hey, I have a story for you. The other day an aunty of mine came up to me and asked me to help her little daughter who is in the 3rd grade, I believe, with her math homework. She's learning her multiplication, and apparently she's too stubborn to learn. I also heard nobody has the patience for her, and that is why her mother came to me because she knows that when people interact with me, it is always the other way around -- they must have patience with me LOL

So, I told my little cousin Sheila to sit next to me. And I asked her, "Can you count to 1,000?" She said yes, and then I asked, "Can you count to 1,000,000?" and she gave me that look that said, "I can, but it will take a long time.." and before she replied, I told her, "If you can count, you can multiply." Then I asked her, "Do you know how to subtract?" and she was like, "duhh!" and I smiled, and told her, "If you can subtract, you can multiply." And then before we began working on her homework, I told her, "tell me all the multiples of 10." and she said, "10, 20.. etc" all the way up to 100. And I said, "As long as you know your multiples of 10, you can figure out ANY multiplication on your own, and I will teach you how.."

I used this formula, which describes how to get ANY multiplication in 4 steps:

1) 10 - (1st#) = A

2) 10 x (2nd#) = B

3) A x (2nd#) = C

4) Answer = B - C

I told her multiplications are as easy as ABC. And that memorization is very important, and that she's never going to need this formula after she learns by heart what each multiple is -- this formula is only used when she doesn't know a certain multiple.

Her first problem was: 17 x 7 = ?

She doesn't know her 7s, so I made her count first because it's the very basics of multiplications. So, she was counting, and she had such a hard time, so I told her to stop and try the formula. I kept in mind that she's still a little girl, and that using formulas might be too complicated for her, but really, this formula only uses the basics of algebra, and problem solving.

I made her write her ABC's:

(The 1st number being the first 7, and the 2nd number being the second 7. If the problem was like (6 x 7), then the 1st number would be 6, and the 2nd number would be 7, understood? Cool, moving forward)

A = (10 - 1st#) = (10 - 7) = 3

B = (10 x 2nd#) = (10 x 7) = 70

C = (A x 2nd#) = (3 x 7) = 21 (after adding)

She didn't know what (3 x 7) was and I told her, "okay, now start counting. The multiples of 3 are so easy, you can do it." And she counted, and eventually got 21.

And then I told her, "the last step is to simply subtract (70 - 21). So start subtracting.." and she began subtracting and ended up with something weird, she hella didn't wanted to think. So I told her, "How much do you need to add to 21 to get 70?" and she eventually got 49. And I congratulated her, "congratulations, you just figured out how to find the answer to a question you don't know.." (basic algebra). And I gave her a high-five.

Then she went on ahead to solve the rest of the problem, which was hella easy for her. Then I made her do the rest of her multiplications, and she wanted to use the formula all the time, and I was like, "NO, (4 x 4) is hella easy, come'on, just add." but whenever she got to to like (8 x 8), and I understand how difficult it may be for a little kid to add by 8, so I told her, okay, use the formula... fast forward -- she eventually was able to memorize all her multiples, and reached a point where she memorized the formula. Then I told her, "okay, now forget the formula. You will never need it after this, I promise. Now go to sleep."

God, I am so bad at teaching math lol

- A Literature Major Teaching Math

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