A Table for two : Not a date story

Basics gone wrong in mathematics

I am not a teacher. But, I like to impress little kids with my “in-depth” knowledge. I had already blown away three minds with Beyond Infinity?. This time I went for something simpler: mathematical tables.

I asked my younger cousin to write out the table of two (He is in 9th grade). He was naturally annoyed, but he wrote down something along the lines of-

2×1=2, 2×2=4, 2×3=6……….2×10=20

I prodded him further by writing it out as they taught him the first time. He went:

Two ones are two, two twos are four……..two tens are twenty.

I wasn’t done torturing him, so I asked him to kindly explain the process of multiplication as repeated addition. He gave me a ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. I explained I wanted to know that if he knew three times two equals 2+2+2 or 3×2 ? He said that it was elementary (maybe he was a Holmes fan). So I urged him (now how do you urge someone?) to kindly expand the table for two. He, for the final time gave me a look and wrote out:

2×1= 2, 2×2=2+2, 2×3=2+2+2…..2×10=2+2+2+2+2+2+2+2+2+2

I laughed my evil laugh as I knew that my cousin was successfully trapped. I proclaimed him wrong and made a cut mark across the page. The cousin wanted to know how and where he was wrong. I then made a pompous speech about how kids today focus less on learning and more on getting marks (kinda made me feel bad for putting him down so harshly).

I made him read out loud what he wrote earlier. Two ONEs are two, two TWOs are four… I knew he hit the Eureka moment then because his face lit up (and not because he ran around naked).

The correct answer was 2×1= 1+1, 2×2= 2+2, 2×3= 3+3, 2×4= 4+4……2X10=10+10. I explained that it was called the table of two not because the two was multiplicand , but rather because two was the multiplier in its table. The same went for all the other numbers as well.

Then I bowed down for the applause, having successfully made one more person’s day surreal.