Quickly Multiply Single-Digits With Your Hands

We all know you can add and subtract with your fingers, but if you're a little rusty on those multiplication tables, you can actually use your fingers to do easy multiplication too.

The multiplication tables from 1 to 5 are pretty easy (as are 10 and 11), but 6 through 9 can be a little bit of a challenge, especially if you need to calculate something quickly. All you do is assign the numbers 6 through 10 to each of your five fingers on each hand. Then take the two numbers you want to multiply — in the case of the above image, 7 and 8 — and put together the corresponding fingers (as shown in the picture to the right). Count the touching fingers, along with the fingers below them and add a zero. That's your "tens" value. Then multiply the upper portion that's above the touching fingers together (one hand x the other hand). That's your "ones" value. Add the bottom and top together and you have your answer.

It seems pretty complicated at first, but you'll get the hang of it after a few times, and it's handy if you don't have a calculator nearby. Hit the link to read more, and while you're at it, check out the other things you can do with your hands, like estimating the time of the sunset or estimate your food portions.

Tables of 6, 7, 8 and 9 in your hands [Instructables]


    I learned my 12 times tables in about grade 4.

      Same here - I hope they still teach it. Knowing the 12 times tables off by heart is one of the most useful things I've ever learnt.

      Pretty similar here too. They're second nature to me now. We learned up to 10x and 11x is easy :) I've since memorised the 12x but they're not as fixed as those I learnt at primary school all those years ago.

    Is this actually easier than learning 4x 10 number sets that follow a simple pattern? Its certainly not faster or more efficient in the long run.

    Trying to get my head around this makes my brain hurt.

    I fin d it much easier to go with the closest time table i know off the top of my ahead, and then adding or subtracting - for example 7 x 10 = 70, and 2 x 7 = 14, so 70-14 = 56.

    Or I could just reach for the smartphone in my pocket and use it's calculator :P

    This is like saying "If you hate tying your laces with your hands, try this simple trick to do it with your teeth instead".

    If you can't multiply single digits in your head, you're not smart enough to figure this out.

    If you still need your fingers to do simple addition, then you should just give up on life.

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