Students use this to develop multiplication strategies to learn their threes multiplication tables. Fours multiplication tables can be learned as well if students include counting the top part of their palm. See the pictures below for more clarification.
Students naturally count on their fingers, so making them aware that there are three sections on their fingers would help them count each section of their fingers to figure out a multiplication fact. Eventually. students could count by 3’s as they touch each finger and would no longer have to count each section by 1’s as they get more comfortable with the multiples of three. You could do up to 3?10=30 on your hands.
If you look at the back of your hand, your fingers are divided into 3 sections where they bend. If you train children to touch each part of their finger then they will have fifteen sections on each hand … or 3 sections per finger. So if a student was trying to solve let’s say 3 x 4, then they could hold up 4 fingers and count the sections by ones. For the first finger they would count 1, 2, 3…the second finger 4, 5, 6, the third finger 7, 8, 9, and the fourth finger 10, 11, 12. So there are four fingers with 3 sections on each leading to the answer 12. Eventually students would hopefully stop counting each section by ones and realize that each finger could be counted by 3. At that point, then the child could count on four fingers saying 3 as he touches the first finger, 6 as he touches the second finger, 9 as he touches the third finger, and 12 as he touches the fourth finger. Students would have to count each finger section by ones if they are fledgling learners of multiplication. Eventually they will hopefully count just the whole finger skip counting. Using your finger sections is a very concrete direct modeling strategy according to CGI (Cognitively Guided Instruction) in which each item is counted. When students gain some understanding of multiplication as equal groups, then they can use a skip counting strategy.