Multiplication Tables

Onesies, twosies, threesies, foursies, fivesies, sixies, sevensies, ninesies, tensies…fine! But, elevensies? twelvesies?

Why did my evil second grade teacher, Mrs. Kraut make me learn my times tables up to 12? I still don’t know my 11s and 12s by heart! My fragile little mind only had room for 1-10!

Now, it occures to me that it is completely pointless to teach them past 10. Are 2nd graders still taught to learn their times tables up to 12? If so, why? If not, when did primary school teachers finally come to their senses? Is it so we can more quickly figure out how many hours are in a day? How many inches in a yard?

If Mrs. Kraut hadn’t spent all that time drilling 11x12=132 into my head she might have had time to teach me how to spil…spel…spell!

If it helps, I was taught the multiplication table up to 10’s in 3rd grade. And this was around 1990. So they probably came to their senses in the 80’s.

I was taught a 10x10 table in the late 70s. But that was in Germany, and I don’t even know if we had a 12x12 table before that. Makes little sense to me, too, except maybe that you might begin to see the pattern, which could help you with the higher numbers.


I was taught in Germany in the sixties - 10x10.

America, mid-80’s, 10x10.
I didn’t have to memorize any state capitols, either.

America (Texas) 1970 10x10 -

Actually, I don’t recall having to memorize the table per se - just do the multiplication problems.

up to 12 x 12 in elementary school in the early 70’s.

Just to clarify, are you reallysaying you have trouble with the elevenses? I mean,up til 11 x 11, it’s the easiest. 11, 22, 33, 44, 55…then you only have two more to memorize – 121 and 132. On the other hand, the twelves were always tough for me.

President of the Vernon Dent fan club.

I too was only drilled on the 10x10, but I do see a purpose for going up to 12x12. Many things still come by the dozen (donuts, inches/foot, packs of soda [pop]), so it just helps to have the answer drilled into your head instead of doing “712 = 710 + 7*2=70+14=84”.

Of course, 11 is easy to memorize. And for other 2-digit products of 11 is easy too. Just add the two digits. If the sum is less than 10, stick it between the digits and there’s your answer. E.g.:

53 x 11
5 + 3 = 8

For sums greater than or equal to 10, put the last digit of the sum in the middle and add one to the left digit. E.g.:

67 x 11
6 + 7 = 13

I was also taught up to the 10s however my father always used to test me up to the 12s which confused the hell out of me back then. I think it is a carry over from the old empirical measures, and I believe that before the change to metric, the entire English currency was calculated on the basis of 12, not 10 ie pounds, shilling, pence. Perhaps way back then Sterling was the reserve currency of choice so people learned to relate their own to it and thus calculate with it, much as they do against the US Dollar now.

A fine good memorizing those tables did for me. I use a calculator for everything, and have forgotten some of the tables. If you ask me 7 X 8, I will draw a blank. I remember all the squares, so 7 X 8 = (7 x 7) + 7 = 56.

It’s kinda like quick dialing from a phone’s memory. You do it for a while and soon you don’t even remember mom’s phone #.

A lot of good technology has done for us.

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Well, the twelve times table can be handy if you’re in America and occasionally have to convert feet into inches. And worldwide, days into hours and years into months.

Chaim Mattis Keller

“Sherlock Holmes once said that once you have eliminated the
impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be
the answer. I, however, do not like to eliminate the impossible.
The impossible often has a kind of integrity to it that the merely improbable lacks.”
– Douglas Adams’s Dirk Gently, Holistic Detective

I thought the twelves were a cinch – they’re so musical. The hardest ones for me were sixes and eights. But maybe I’m just weird.

Slightly off topic, but anyway: I learned a great rule back in school to square or multiply number between 11 and 19. Let’s start with squares (let # be any digit):

1# x 1# = 1#0 + #0 + #x#

Okay, this looks clumsy. Example:

16 x 16 = 160 + 60 + 6x6 = 220 + 36 = 256

Other multiplications (@ is another digit):

1# x 1@ = 1#0 + @0 + #x@


15 x 17 = 150 + 70 + 5x7 = 220 + 35 = 255

Speak that aloud to memorize the rule; I never forgot it.


PS: Of course, this rule is trivial if you know the distributive law (correct term?). But it’s sooo handy!

you guys are doin this math thing way to complicated.
i suggest a calculator

Either let me fly or give me death
Let my soul rest-take my breath
if i dont fly ima die anyway
Ima live on but ill be gone anyday


Youngest Son just finished third grade, and they did do multiplication tables to the 12s.

Middle Son just finished fifth grade, and they had to memorize all of the state capitols.


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I went through grade school in the mid-70s.

Multiplication: 10x10

We learned nothing about state capitols, but we did have to memorize all 50 state capitals.

And yes, we covered spelling! :slight_smile:

I teach third grade, and for the last two years I’ve taught 0-12s. However, I think this year I’m going to focus on 0-10s (which is all my district requires). Students grew confused–it’s a lot of numbers to work with and memorize–and I want to be sure they really get the 0-10s.

I’ll probably offer the 11s and 12s as enrichment for the kids who whiz through the first 10 (well, technically, 11), but this way the lower kids have a greater chance at success. I teach the concept of multiplication so that they can find the answer of, say, 11 x 12, but they just won’t have it memorized.
BTW, I learned 0-10s in 3rd grade, and learned the 11s and 12s later on my own.

“Me fail English? That’s unpossible!”

“English? Who needs that? I’m never going to England.”

I only learned through 10, back in the 50’s, but I was aware that going up to 12 had been possible in earlier days.

Lsd (not the drug, the pre-1971 British coinage) might have been a factor.

John W. Kennedy
“Compact is becoming contract; man only earns and pays.”
– Charles Williams

I was taught 1-12 in school, but I didn’t ever memorize them. To get 7x8, I still think “7 doubled is 14, doubled is 28, doubled is 56”.

I learned how to multiply from the “Multiplication Rock” album, from the Schoolhouse Rock series. But the 7 song wasn’t catchy, and the 8 song was boring, so I never got those. That 3 song really rocked, and Little-Twelve-Toes… oh yeah. I still occasionally hum them when I have to count by 3s or some such.

Your Quadell

Personally, I’m not to thrilled with the concept of teaching multiplication by tables. I know I didn’t understand multiplication until my mother had me throw away the tables and start looking at the problems as an addition based concept. That is when I started understanding multiplication as a concept, rather than as just something done by rote, like spelling. The tables might be usefull, but I see to much reliance on them, rather than the concepts of math they were made from.

>>while contemplating the navel of the universe, I wondered, is it an innie or outie?<<

—The dragon observes