Top tips and tricks for learning the 9 times table

Is your child tackling the 9 times table? Then don’t miss out on these top tips and tricks which will make learning the 9s a breeze.

There’s no denying that children in elementary/primary school have a lot of math facts to learn.

And some of the most useful? Multiplication facts.

Learning and committing all multiplication facts to memory can take a lot of time.

But, being able to recall multiplication facts (or ‘times tables’, as they’re often known) quickly and confidently is so helpful. Multiplication facts crop up in many different areas of the math curriculum, so knowing them well is a huge advantage (and especially when it comes to mental maths).

(Not sure which times tables your child should be starting with? My post ‘Which times table should you learn first?‘ may be helpful for you).

When tackling multiplication facts, children will inevitably find some multiplication tables easier and quicker to learn than others.

Although the 9 times table might sound daunting, it’s actually one of the easiest (and, if you ask me, most fun) to learn.

Why? Because there are so many tricks and patterns that can help you.

And so, if your child is taking on the 9 times table, here are some helpful pointers to get them started.

Use your fingers

There is a very clever way to work out your 9 times table using your ten fingers. Let me show you how:

Hold both hands out in front of you with 10 fingers spread out.

Choose a math fact that you want to find the answer to, for example let’s take 3 x 9.

Because we want to know 9 multiplied by 3, we going to fold down the third finger from the left.

The folded down finger will act as our divide between the tens and ones in our answer.

The fingers to the left of the folded finger represent the number of tens (the tens digit), and the fingers to the right of the folded finger represent the number of ones (the ones digit or ‘units’ digit).

So, in our case, there are 2 fingers to the left of the folded down finger (so that’s 2 tens) and 7 fingers to the right (7 ones). So the answer is 27.

Let’s take another example, say 7 x 9.

Because we want to find 7 times nine, we will fold down the seventh finger from the left.

The number of fingers to the left of the folded finger is 6 (so that’s 6 tens) and to the right of our folded-down finger we have 3 (so that’s 3 ones). So the answer is 63.

A pretty useful trick to have at your finger tips (please excuse the pun), and a quick way to check that you’ve always got the right answer when it comes to the 9 times table.

The digits of multiples of 9 add up to 9

Ready for a fun fact? Here’s goes.

A great way to double check if a number is a multiple of 9 is to check if the sum of the digits is 9.

With the exception of 0 (which is 0 x 9), multiples of 9 have digits that total 9.

For example, let’s look at the number 63 (which is 7 x 9). The first digit is 6 and the second digit is 3. The sum of those two digits is 9.

Let’s look at another multiple of 9, the number 81 (which is 9 x 9). The sum of 8 and 1 is 9.

You can check to see much bigger numbers are multiples of 9 as well, by using this same test.

For example, let’s take the number 2106. Is 2106 a multiple of 9? Let’s check.

Let’s add the digits: 2 + 1 + 0 + 6. The sum? 9! So this tells us that 2106 is indeed a multiple of 9. (If you want to check, grab a calculator and divide 2106 by 9. If your answer is a whole number, then it’s a multiple of 9).

What about the number 999?

Let’s add the digits: 9 + 9 + 9. The total? 27. But wait, we need to keep adding until we get a one-digit number. So next we add together the two digits of 27: 2 + 7. The total? 9.

So yes, this shows us that 999 is indeed a multiple of 9.

Here’s a quick question for you. Which of these four number are not multiples of 9 (use the trick above to help you): 315, 414, 442 and 594?

Increasing tens and decreasing ones

Another interesting pattern emerges when we look at what is happening with the tens digits and the ones digits as we move through the multiples of 9 from 1 x 9 to 10 x 9.

Looking at the facts from 1 x 9 up to 10 x 9 (see below), you can see that as we move down the multiples, the number in the tens column decreases by one whilst the numbers in the ones column increases by one.

Pattern of increasing tens digit and decreasing ones digit in multiples of 9 (up to 10 x 10).

If your child is intrigued by the pattern here, encourage them to work out 11 x 9 and beyond and see if they can see this type of pattern emerge again.

So there you have it. Who knew the nine times table was so full of excitement and intrigue?

Times table practice

If your child is working on multiplication facts at the moment we have resources available to help.

Our activity pack called ‘Be a multiplication Star!’ has times table worksheets designed to practise all the multiplication facts up to 10 x 10. It includes a wide variety of different types of activity, including word problems, missing number activities and true/false questions. The best way to keep your times tables ticking over? Practice practice practice.

We also have resources to help with learning multiplication facts, including our popular (and colourful) multiplication chart / times table chart (free for subscribers).

Also, if you need a list of all the multiplication facts for your child to refer to, check out our printable multiplication tables (free for subscribers). This print-out is great to use to keep track of which multiplication facts your child knows and which still need more practice.

Please note: our products and resources are digital downloads and come in a PDF format. You can print your own paper copy for personal use only at home or in the classroom.

And that’s it for today! Thanks for reading.

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