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Learning Multiplication Facts for 6s-9s Using Finger Tricks

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Melanie Needling
Despite some discouragement of their use, fingers can be a highly useful tool when multiplying. Learn how to multiply 6s, 7s, 8s, and 9s using two simple finger tricks and a more complicated trick for more complex problems. Updated: 11/12/2021

Assign the Numbers

Before we learn how to use the finger tricks, assign a number to each one of your fingers. First, hold your hands out in front of you with your palms up. Now number the fingers on each hand from 6 to 10, starting with 6 for your pinky fingers and counting up to 10 for your thumbs. It may help you to stick pieces of tape with the numbers on each finger. Your hands should look like this:


Assign Numbers to Fingers
numberedfingers1


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  • 0:04 Assign the Numbers
  • 0:28 Finger Trick #1
  • 1:40 Finger Trick #2
  • 2:59 More Complicated Finger Tricks
  • 4:04 Lesson Summary
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Finger Trick #1

Let's say you're given the problem 6 x 8. What's the answer? You can't remember, and you don't have time to draw six groups of eight stars and count them. Here's what you can do:

Step 1

On your left hand, bend the finger with a 6 on it because the first factor, or number in the multiplication problem, is a 6. On the right hand, bend the finger with an 8 on it, since it's the second factor in the problem, and bend all of the smaller numbers on your right hand (6 and 7).


Finger trick to find the answer to 6 x 8
6x8


Step 2

Count your bent fingers by tens. Since you have four fingers bent (the 6 on the left hand and the 6, 7, and 8 on the right hand), you'll count the numbers as follows: 10, 20, 30, 40. The first number you need for your answer is 40.

Step 3

Multiply the number of fingers on each hand that are still upright. On your left hand, you still have four fingers standing. On the right hand, you still have two fingers standing. This gives you 4 x 2 = 8.


4 x 2 is 8
standing fingers


Now add the 8 to the 40, which gives you 48.

6 x 8 = 48

Finger Trick #2

Find the answer to 7 x 8.

Step 1

On your left hand, bend the finger with a 7 on it because the first factor of the problem is a 7. Then bend all of the smaller numbers on your left hand (6). On the right hand, bend the finger with an 8 on it, since it's the second factor in the problem. Finally, bend all of the smaller numbers on your right hand (6 and 7).

Step 2

Count your bent fingers by ten. Since you have five fingers bent (the 7 and the 6 on the left hand and the 6, 7, and 8 on the right hand), you'll count the numbers as follows: 10, 20, 30, 40, 50. So the first number you need to find your answer is 50.

Step 3

Multiply the number of fingers that are still standing. On your left hand, you still have three fingers standing. On the right hand, you still have two fingers standing. This gives you 3 x 2 = 6.

When you counted your bent fingers by tens, you got 50. When you multiplied the fingers still standing on your left hand by the fingers standing on your right hand, you got 6. Add these together and you get 50 + 6 = 56. So:

7 x 8 = 56

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