Is There Any Point to the 12 Times Table?

Sometime in elementary school, most of us endured memorizing multiplication tables, up to 12 x 12. However, in the past few decades, people rely more on calculators, and metric measures and decimals have replaced shillings and dozens in much of everyday life. So is there any purpose in learning multiples of twelve? Jon McLoone looks at the question, and finds that mathematical errors are reduced when you learn your "times tables," but only as far as the sevens, then the benefit of knowing more flattens out (see above graph). At least as far as future mathematical errors go, learning the higher tables may be useless.

However, looking back at my own experience, I believe that learning the nines, tens, elevens, and twelves will help a student to see the patterns in numbers. For my children, finding the beauty in mathematical patterns made the difference between hating math and exceling in it. What do you think? McLoone has a lot more to say about multiplication tables at the Wolfram Blog. Link -via b3ta  

Should memorizing multiplication tables be shortened to the tens?




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Possibly. You have a valid point. But I work in education and so many times I've seen the "let's make this useful" argument used to disguise the "let's lower our standards" decision. It's made me deeply suspicious of anything that looks like lowering educational standards.
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My 1960's elementary school only taught (drilled) us up to the 10's. I think all of our 11's & 12's time was spent preparing for the imminent move to all-metric.
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There is a difference between something being difficult, and tedious waste of time though. A common complaint from both my peers when I was in school and students I see today is that school is full of too much busy work of little use. Although, the lower achievers seemed to complain about things where they were being short-sighted on usefulness in addition to things that were not so useful.
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