Finger 9's

January 5, 2010 at 7:15 am (Uncategorized)

A friend at church and I were talking about teaching Math and he shared this neat way to use your fingers to learn the 9’s facts.  I loved it and came home and showed my kids.  Here it is…

First put out all 10 of your fingers.

Then fold down your first finger.  This represents 9X1 and the result is 9.
(You have 9 fingers showing to the right of the finger that is down.  All fingers to the right of the finger that is down represent the ones.  All fingers to the left will represent the 10’s place.)

Next you put down your second finger to represent 9X2.  As you can see the answer is 18!
(To the left of the finger that is down are the tens = 1.  To the right of the finger  that is down are the ones which = 8.

And it just keeps working…

9X3 = 27

9X4 = 36

9X5 = 45

9X6 = 54

9X7 = 63

9X8 = 72

9X9 = 81

9X10 = 90

Cool huh??

And of course you can check your work easily because all of the results will equal 9 when added together…09,18, 27, 36, 45, 54, 63, 72, 81, 90.  (0+9=9, 1+8=9, 2+7=9, 3+6=9, 4+5=9, 5+4=9, 6+3=9, 7+2=9, 8+1=9, 9+0=9)

You can also see the pattern visually by writing them out…

09,18, 27, 36, 45, 54, 63, 72, 81, 90

Look at the sequence of numbers above and you will see that for each of the results the first number gets one larger and the 2 second number gets one smaller. (And when you add the 2 numbers together they = 9.) This is the way we learned the 9 facts in Math-U-See.  The day I learned this was one of the great math realizations of my life!  LOL

Hope this helps others too!  I taught the "Finger 9’s to my 8 year old daughter yesterday and I saw a light bulb come on! I think we finally had our big multiplication break through.  She has known all her skip counting facts for over a year, but somehow has had a hard time translating that into multiplication.  Yesterday it all seemed to come together for her!  YAY!!!

Happy Homeschooling,




  1. Anonymous said,

    Another tip on 9s that you probably realized but didn't mention:

    09, 18, 27, 36, 45, 54, 63, 72, 81, 90

    If you can memorize the first half of the set, the second half is just backwards (54 is just 45 backwards, 63 is just 36 backwards). I often forget the 9s facts in the upper ranges (63 is hard for my brain to recall), but if I remember 36 then I switch it and can remember 63.

    Thanks for sharing! I remember well the day that multiplication "hit me" in my childhood. Before that it was hard to grasp, but once it hits you, it sticks.


    Shannon <><
    South Bend, IN

  2. Kim said,

    That is just TOO cool! Never looked at it that way. I'll have to teach it to my daughter tomorrow during school. Thanks!!

    Happy New Year!

  3. 4sweetums said,

    That is awesome. I am going to bookmark this one.

  4. Anonymous said,

    Thank you for explaining the finger rule (and showing it so clearly, for us visual learners.) I knew the subtract 1 from the number you are mulitplying, make that your 10 and the other number added to it equals 9 rule, but my daughter wasn't quite catching on to that. She got the finger rule right away!

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