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Multiply By 9′s Tricks

November 6, 2009

Here are two fun and amazing ways to look at multiplying by nine’s.

With both of these suggestions, the idea is for your child to have tools to enable them to learn the 9’s painlessly and, with continued practice, know their multiplication by 9’s automatically.

Hands On!

They are going to use their hands as a calculator! They must have a working understanding of tens and ones to grasp this trick easily.


  1. Hold out your hands and explain that each finger is a number. Starting with the pinky on the left hand as one.
  2. Now let your child decide on the problem, for example 9 x 3 =.
  3. Holding up your hands, bend down the “3” finger. Make sure they can see what you have done or better yet, have them do it too.
  4. The fingers to the left of the “3” are the tens. How many tens are still straight? They should answer “2“. That’s right, 2 tens or 20.
  5. The fingers to the right of the “3” finger are the “ones”, include both hands.
    There are 2 fingers raised on the left hand and 5 on the right, making a total of 7 fingers.
  6. Put them together, 2 tens and 7 ones or 27! That’s the answer.9 x 3 = 27Isn’t that amazing! It works every time for the problems under ten.

    Have your child practice it a few times so they can do it fluidly and before they know it, the answers will become automatic.

Check out this Multiply by 9’s Patterns Chart!

Another tool for learning to multiply 9’s is this handy patterns chart. This is something you will want to do with your child or have them make up their own in color. Doing it in color helps the patterns become easier to see and your child will benefit from writing out the patterns themselves.

Multiply by 9’s Trick

Steps to make chart:

1. Start by writing

2. There are 2 steps for finding the answer:

    1. Explain that the number in the tens place in the answer is always 1 less than the number being multiplied by 9.So for 9 x 1,  one less than the number 1 is  0.
      Put the 0 in the tens place.
    2. For the next step explain that when the number in the tens place is added to the number in the ones place, they will equal 9.So  0 plus  ? equals 9.
    3. Put the  9 in the ones place.
    4. Amazing but true!

3. Line up the next row under the first row.

4. Have your child go through the 2 steps for finding the answer.

5. Continue doing this until he reaches 9 x 10 = 90.

  1. Now look down the columns. See how the numbers progress?
    You can count down the tens column and up the ones column.
    Kind of cool – don’t you think?This trick only works for   9 x 1   to   9 x 10.

Print a completed Patterns Chart with the answers PDF to post in your child’s room or print one without the answers PDF so your child can fill it in.

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