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# Free Software Tool which lets students practice their multiplication tables with “automated flash cards”

Updated on June 23, 2012

This hub provides a program for math students working with basic multiplication. The user is prompted for the answer to ”a x b = ?”, kind of like automated flash cards. You will need Microsoft Excel. We will go through how to install the program here. It will involve copying and pasting my code into Excel. Open up Excel, save the new file as “flashcards.xlsm”. In newer versions of Windows, you will save as type “Excel Macro-Enabled Workbook”. Delete all the sheets in worksheet except “Sheet1”. Leave it as is, do not rename it. In order to use embedded programming in Excel, you will need use the Developers tab. To make it visible in the new spreadsheet, do as follows:

File --> Options (click), Customize Ribbon (click), Check the “Developer” box and click “OK” at bottom. “Developer” tab is now visible. Click it, and a section dealing with macros and VBA (Visual Basic) can now be seen at far left.

We will create a blank macro (program), and paste some code in. On the left, click the tab “Record Macro”. A box pops up. It has been given a name, “Macro1”. Leave it as is. There will also be a shortcut key entry, make it “ctrl a”. Click OK. Where tab at upper left now says “stop recording”, click it. Click the “Macros” tab and the blank macro just created will pop up. Referring to the picture in this hub, place the blinking cursor as shown with down arrow key. Then copy/paste in this code:

Dim x As Single, y As Single, product As Single, xstr As String, ystr As String, replystr As String

Dim replynum As Single, flag As Single, productstr As String

Dim LRandomNumber As Integer

MsgBox ("Let's practice multiplication. Hit 'Cancel' at any time to end the session.")

Do

LRandomNumber = Int((10 - 1 + 1) * Rnd + 1)

x = LRandomNumber

LRandomNumber = Int((10 - 1 + 1) * Rnd + 1)

y = LRandomNumber

xstr = Str(x)

ystr = Str(y)

product = x * y

productstr = Str(product)

productstr = Trim(productstr)

replystr = InputBox(xstr & " x " & ystr & " = ?")

If replystr = "" Then Exit Do

MsgBox ("That is incorrect. Correct answer is " & productstr & ". Let's try another.")

Else

End If

Loop

Close the program box and re-save the Excel workbook, keeping it open. Hit “ctrl a” and the program will run. The program is set up to pick random numbers from 1 to 10. If you desire to extend higher to numbers > 10, refer to 2nd picture which shows an easy edit to the code. That’s it, hope it works well for you.

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