While, these days, the calculator may be king in the classroom, we’re still a little “old school” at home. While I do actively drill the kids on their multiplication tables, I’m also keen on finding ways to have them practice math without necessarily “studying.” This has resulted in various challenges in which I ask them to “mix media,” so to speak. Sometimes, the kids just end up tricking each other into practice here and there. On the way home from school on Wednesday, for instance, Toby, who has been a little surly of late, insisted that there was no possible way that you could make a multiplication table and “do art” simultaneously. Out to prove him wrong, Bea came home and made the awesome Alien Multiplication chart below. Instead of making a Multiplication Table, or grid, she decided to create crazy awesome numbers and write multiples of those numbers in a circle (or something close to it) around those “alien” forms.
I’m happy to see her getting creative with her numbers and letters. There’s been an exciting dialogue going on as of late regarding cursive writing as a vital practice in our everyday lives (see Nathalie Foy’s Handwriting without Tears and The Missing Ink). While this multiplication chart isn’t technically a “cursive” exercise, I’m happy wherever and whenever the kids get it into their heads that hand-lettering, or in this case, hand-numbering, is a creative practice as well as a means of flexing that powerful memory muscle.
Why not get your own kids to make hand-drawn multiplication charts of their own?
On a large sheet of craft paper, have them draw out numbers 1-10 or 1-12 in a large and lovely font or fonts.
[Need ideas? Go through favourite books and look at type! Check out google fonts! Or use your computer word-processign program and change the fonts on a few numbers!]
Then, have them write out the multiplies of each number from 0 or 1 to 10 or 12 in a smaller size and in a different style in a circle around the larger number.
Consider adding a theme to the chart! – Alien numbers, animal numbers, butterfly-winged numbers, or constellations!
They can add thematic drawings to the borders and background, too!
Need some motivation? Here’s a little video of my own artist/mathematician at work: