Making Math Fun: The Nifty Nines Trick

Posted In: All posts, Math

The Nifty Nines Trick

Annie from Alphabet Glue is with us to share a fun and easy trick for mastering those hard to memorize nines timetables…

Back in my days as an elementary school teacher, this was one of my favorite math tricks with which to wow the kiddos. It still kind of is. And it isn’t just a party trick; there is some actual math involved here, and for a kid needing to multiply a number by nine and feeling a little bit stuck, it can be a real confidence booster.

Here’s how it works:

Hold up both hands in front of you with your palms facing away, and pick an equation to solve that involves multiplying by nine. For example, 9 x 4. Starting from the pinky on your left hand, count up to the number that you are multiplying by (in this case, 4). Fold down the finger for the number you are multiplying by nine. Now look at your hands again. The fingers to the left of the finger that is folded down represent the tens place. The fingers to the right represent the ones. So, when multiplying 9 times 4, and folding down the fourth finger from the left, you will end up with three fingers to the left, and six to the right. The answer is 36.

The Nifty Nines Trick

Try this trick with any single digit number that you want to multiply by nine. Works like a charm every time!

Note about the photo: photos are a mirror image, so when you look at the picture, try to remember that the tens number will be equivalent to the fingers on your left in real life!



Annie Riechmann is an educator, blogger and mama to two small people who lives in the Burlington, Vermont area. Annie is also the creator and publisher of Alphabet Glue, a literacy themed e-magazine for families, and is an associate editor for Rhythm of the Home. She is an unapologetic lover of striped knee socks, avocados, and field guides, and wishes that she was better at flying kites. You can check in with Annie at her blog, Bird and Little Bird, where she writes about everything from books and babies, to laundering snow pants.


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