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Mental Math

# Mental Math

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09/25/2010

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1.
Multiplying by 9, or 99, or 999
Multiplying by 9 is really multiplying by 10-1.So, 9×9 is just 9x(10-1) which is 9×10-9 which is 90-9 or 81.Let’s try a harder example: 46×9 = 46×10-46 = 460-46 = 414.One more example: 68×9 = 680-68 = 612.To multiply by 99, you multiply by 100-1.So, 46×99 = 46x(100-1) = 4600-46 = 4554.Multiplying by 999 is similar to multiplying by 9 and by 99.38×999 = 38x(1000-1) = 38000-38 = 37962.2.
Multiplying by 11
To multiply a number by 11 you add pairs of numbers next to each other, except for thenumbers on the edges.Let me illustrate:To multiply 436 by 11 go from right to left.First write down the 6 then add 6 to its neighbor on the left, 3, to get 9.Write down 9 to the left of 6.Then add 4 to 3 to get 7. Write down 7.Then, write down the leftmost digit, 4.So, 436×11 = is 4796.Let’s do another example: 3254×11.The answer comes from these sums and edge numbers: (3)(3+2)(2+5)(5+4)(4) = 35794.One more example, this one involving carrying: 4657×11.Write down the sums and edge numbers: (4)(4+6)(6+5)(5+7)(7).Going from right to left we write down 7.Then we notice that 5+7=12.So we write down 2 and carry the 1.6+5 = 11, plus the 1 we carried = 12.So, we write down the 2 and carry the 1.4+6 = 10, plus the 1 we carried = 11.So, we write down the 1 and carry the 1.To the leftmost digit, 4, we add the 1 we carried.So, 4657×11 = 51227.3.
Multiplying by 5, 25, or 125
Multiplying by 5 is just multiplying by 10 and then dividing by 2. Note: To multiply by 10 just add a 0 to the end of the number.12×5 = (12×10)/2 = 120/2 = 60.Another example: 64×5 = 640/2 = 320.And, 4286×5 = 42860/2 = 21430.To multiply by 25 you multiply by 100 (just add two 0’s to the end of the number) thendivide by 4, since 100 = 25×4. Note: to divide by 4 your can just divide by 2 twice, since2×2 = 4.64×25 = 6400/4 = 3200/2 = 1600.58×25 = 5800/4 = 2900/2 = 1450.To multiply by 125, you multipy by 1000 then divide by 8 since 8×125 = 1000. Noticethat 8 = 2×2x2. So, to divide by 1000 add three 0’s to the number and divide by 2 threetimes.32×125 = 32000/8 = 16000/4 = 8000/2 = 4000.48×125 = 48000/8 = 24000/4 = 12000/2 = 6000.4.
Multiplying together two numbers that differ by a small even number
This trick only works if you’ve memorized or can quickly calculate the squares of numbers. If you’re able to memorize some squares and use the tricks described later for some kinds of numbers you’ll be able to quickly multiply together many pairs of numbersthat differ by 2, or 4, or 6.

Let’s say you want to calculate 12×14.When two numbers differ by two their product is always the square of the number in between them minus 1.12×14 = (13×13)-1 = 168.16×18 = (17×17)-1 = 288.99×101 = (100×100)-1 = 10000-1 = 9999If two numbers differ by 4 then their product is the square of the number in the middle(the average of the two numbers) minus 4.11×15 = (13×13)-4 = 169-4 = 165.13×17 = (15×15)-4 = 225-4 = 221.If the two numbers differ by 6 then their product is the square of their average minus 9.12×18 = (15×15)-9 = 216.17×23 = (20×20)-9 = 391.5.
Squaring 2-digit numbers that end in 5
If a number ends in 5 then its square always ends in 25. To get the rest of the product takethe left digit and multiply it by one more than itself.35×35 ends in 25. We get the rest of the product by multiplying 3 by one more than 3. So,3×4 = 12 and that’s the rest of the product. Thus, 35×35 = 1225.To calculate 65×65, notice that 6×7 = 42 and write down 4225 as the answer.85×85: Calculate 8×9 = 72 and write down 7225.6.
Multiplying together 2-digit numbers where the first digits are the same and the lastdigits sum to 10
Let’s say you want to multiply 42 by 48. You notice that the first digit is 4 in both cases.You also notice that the other digits, 2 and 8, sum to 10. You can then use this trick:multiply the first digit by one more than itself to get the first part of the answer andmultiply the last digits together to get the second (right) part of the answer.An illustration is in order:To calculate 42×48: Multiply 4 by 4+1. So, 4×5 = 20. Write down 20.Multiply together the last digits: 2×8 = 16. Write down 16.The product of 42 and 48 is thus 2016. Notice that for this particular example you could also have noticed that 42 and 48 differ  by 6 and have applied technique number 4.Another example: 64×66. 6×7 = 42. 4×6 = 24. The product is 4224.A final example: 86×84. 8×9 = 72. 6×4 = 24. The product is 72247.
Squaring other 2-digit numbers
Let’s say you want to square 58. Square each digit and write a partial answer. 5×5 = 25.8×8 = 64. Write down 2564 to start. Then, multiply the two digits of the number you’resquaring together, 5×8=40.Double this product: 40×2=80, then add a 0 to it, getting 800.Add 800 to 2564 to get 3364.This is pretty complicated so let’s do more examples.32×32. The first part of the answer comes from squaring 3 and 2.3×3=9. 2×2 = 4. Write down 0904. Notice the extra zeros. It’s important that every squarein the partial product have two digits.Multiply the digits, 2 and 3, together and double the whole thing. 2×3x2 = 12.Add a zero to get 120. Add 120 to the partial product, 0904, and we get 1024.56×56. The partial product comes from 5×5 and 6×6. Write down 2536.5×6x2 = 60. Add a zero to get 600.56×56 = 2536+600 = 3136.One more example: 67×67. Write down 3649 as the partial product.6×7x2 = 42×2 = 84. Add a zero to get 840.67×67=3649+840 = 4489.

8.
Multiplying by doubling and halving
There are cases when you’re multiplying two numbers together and one of the numbers iseven. In this case you can divide that number by two and multiply the other number by 2.You can do this over and over until you get to multiplication this is easy for you to do.Let’s say you want to multiply 14 by 16. You can do this:14×16 = 28×8 = 56×4 = 112×2 = 224.Another example: 12×15 = 6×30 = 6×3 with a 0 at the end so it’s 180.48×17 = 24×34 = 12×68 = 6×136 = 3×272 = 816. (Being able to calculate that 3×27 = 81in your head is very helpful for this problem.)9.
Multiplying by a power of 2
To multiply a number by 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, or some other power of 2 just keep doubling the product as many times as necessary. If you want to multiply by 16 then double the number 4 times since 16 = 2×2x2×2.15×16: 15×2 = 30. 30×2 = 60. 60×2 = 120. 120×2 = 240.23×8: 23×2 = 46. 46×2 = 92. 92×2 = 184.54×8: 54×2 = 108. 108×2 = 216. 216×2 = 432.10.
The basic recipe for multiplying by 12 is to double the digit and add its neighbor.
Let’s multiply 34 by 12.
We start with the right-most digit, 4. We double it and would add the neighbor to the rightif there were one, so we just double 4 and get 8.
Write down the 8
as the right-most digitof the answer.We move over to the next digit, 3. Double the 3 to get 6 then add the neighbor, 4, to get10.
Write down the 0
from 10 and carry the 1.We’re done with the digits but we have to move to the left one final time. We double thenon-existent digit, which we’ll call 0, add the neighbor, 3, and add the carry, 1. So, we
write down 4
as the final digit.We’re done. We wrote down, from right to left: 8-0-4. Our answer is 408.
Let’s try another example: 346×12
Start with the right-most digit, 6. Double the 6 and add the neighbor (none in this case).We get 12.
Write down 2
from 12, and carry the 1.Move left to the next digit, 4. Double the 4 to get 8, add the neighbor, 6, to get 14, and addthe carry, to get 15.
Write down the 5
, and carry the 1.Move left to the next digit, 3. Double the 3 to get 6. Add the neighbor, 4, and we get 10.Add the carry, to get 11.
Write down the 1
, and carry the 1.Move left to the non-existent digit. Double it to get 0, and add the neighbor, 3, whichgives us 3. Finally, add the carry to get 4.
Write down 4.
One final example. Let’s calculate 123456×12.
First digit is 6. Double 6 plus no neighbor = 12.
Write down 2
and carry 1. Next digit is 5. Double 5 plus neighbor 6 plus carry 1 = 17.
Write down 7
and carry 1. Next digit is 4. Double 4 plus neighbor 5 plus carry 1 = 14.
Write down 4
and carry 1. Next digit is 3. Double 3 plus neighbor 4 plus carry 1 = 11.
Write down 1
and carry 1. Next digit is 2. Double 2 plus neighbor 3 plus carry 1 = 8.
Write down 8
and no carry. Next digit is 1. Double 1 plus neighbor 2 plus no carry = 4.
Write down 4
and no carry. Next digit doesn’t exist. We double 0 plus neighbor 1 plus no carry = 1.
Write down 1.
Our answer is 1481472.Pretty cool, huh? There are some nice features of Trachtenberg:
For techniques like this one you can write the answer without writing down andadding partial results.
With practice you can do this kind of arithmetic very quickly.
The techniques build self-esteem in students who are not comfortable with Math
The techniques build visualization skills as partial results are stored in one’s head.