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One of the major problems of teaching people multiplication facts are the "hard" numbers of 6,7,8,9,10. A teacher I always is looking for ways to make it easier for students to learn and I think I found one in the "Hand Held Calculator". I found this a easy method to teach and something that allows parents a way to be a part of their childerns math education.

It starts simply enough with a close fist with the thumbs facing upwards. With one hand you raise the thumb pointing it up while the rest of the fingers remain closed, this represents "six". When the thumb and the "pointer" finger are extended together with the three other fingers closed, this represents "seven". The thumb, pointer, and middle finger extended with the remaining two fingers folded is "eight". When the thumb, pointer, middle, and ring fingers are all extended leaving only the "pinky" folded "nine" is represented. When the hand is completely open you have ten.

You should do this on both hands stating each number as you point it out. This is repeated until 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 are understood and demostrated on both hands. Once that is done you can begin to use the calculator!

Here's how it works: Suppose you ask to have your student multiply 8 times 7. On one hand he/she would extend the thumb, pointer, and middle fingers (the representation of 8). On the other hand you would extend the thumb and the pointer finger (this is 7). Now you begin by counting the extended fingers as 10 each. There are five of them so your count is 10, 20, 30, 40, 50. This 50 is the first part now comes the next step which is to look at the folded finger on each hand. On one hand you have two and the other you have three. You multiply the folded fingers and you have "2 times 3" or 6. The 6 is added to the fifty you already have and you have the answer 50 plus 6 or 56!

This method is always the same and works with all the multiplication facts from 6 times 6 through 10 times 10! You count the extended fingers as ten each; multiply the folded fingers on each hand by each other and add the result to the extended count.

This calculator is available to anyone with five fingers on each hand and provides a way to reduce the anxiety of multiplying some of the "hardest" facts on the multiplication table.