What is the best way to get times tables into kids that don't really like maths or does it not matter?(88 Posts)
Dd hates maths.
2,5,10,11and 3 picked up fair effortlessly.Now we're on 6 they're going in less easily and she hates maths so how what is the best way for the rest?
I'll show her the various tricks but if all else fails is just learning by rote ok?
It's about learning by rote, isn't it?
My DS would work it out (he does like Maths) but his teacher wanted instant recall. And that's learning by rote, not doing any calculations in your head.
Here, Timez Attack www.bigbrainz.com/
I had to recite the tables every single day at school. That's how we all learnt them, as it is just rote learning which will give instant recall. DD hated maths and she's learnt her tables using the Big Brainz games. I did end up paying as it was working so well, but the free stuff is great. (DD still hates maths, btw!)
If she knows the 2 and 3 times tables she can use these for 6 times first multiply by 3 then by 2.
I'm a big fan of Percy Parker sing the times tables.
At my DD's school they learn them in music class. It seems to work <she never had any time table learning/reciting at home, yet is able to multiply and divide>
My children enjoyed a CD of times tables songs from Fun Learning store in kingston. Sure there are loads on the Internet!
Little and often, generally in the car going to school.
Mind you I think DD1 and I knew them for SATs week and have forgotten them again. (We are both dyslexic, we both good at proper maths, but tables defeat are useless short term memory). DD2 has known hers since she was 8 and loves correcting us.)
I think if she has most of those secure, and you explain the law of commutation i.e. 6x7 is the same as 7x6 then you should find there are actually very few multiplications to learn, which she could do by heart. If you make a grid of all combinations you might be surprised by what she already had covered.
oh and play Splat with a hundred square.
It's a very long time ago and I was quite good at maths, but I distinctly remember that for me it all became much easier when I understood that
6 x 7 was the same as 7 + 7 + 7 + 7 + 7 + 7
or 6 + 6 + 6 .....
i.e. that learning your tables by heart saved u having to add all the numbers each time, that it saved a u lot of time and made u much quicker at maths.
I may not have explained it well now, but it was a real epiphany moment.
Understanding that if u forgot one, u could stop and work it out again, stopped me feeling nervous about tables.
I also got in the habit of visualising, how the tables formed collumns of tens, with overspills, e.g. how the second 6 had to give 4 to the first column, with 2 left for the second, how the third 6 built up to the 8, etc.
I think i really learned my tables by doing them that way in my head whenever I was bored, rather than by looking at the tables, although in the old Soviet Union every maths exercise book had them on the back cover, so u could always look at them too whenever u were bored.
I would check the ones she knows without thinking, probably 2x6 etc. then pick 2 she doesn't know. Say, 6x6 and 4x6. Learn just those 2. It may help that 4x6 is the same as 6x4. When she knows those 2 without thinking, add another and practice the 3. Keep adding in more. It is much better to know them like that than to have to chant through the whole thing each time.
If you have an iPad, there is an app called squeebles which is quite fun.
Other then that, it's repetition, repetition, repetition and in the car and any spare minutes you have when you remember to think of it, just get into the habit of firing out random times table questions until eventually she knows them all by instant recall.
It's not something that you can say, right I did them or learnt them this week, that's it.
Times tables are so important, I don't understand why schools don't devote more time or thought doing them with the children and seem to rely heavily on parents.
I taught a Maths hating / low confidence Maths group. We made our own raps and songs for the times tables. Then we recorded them and sold them as fundraising.
Now I know that's a bit extreme but they really loved making the raps and songs with instruments. It really helped to do something with their hands as they were mostly kinaesthetic learners. Also the ones with mental blocks were distracted by the musical side and allowed themselves to learn.
It's worth a try.
If the 6 times table is causing problems, there is an easy trick to remember it. My DD (7) finds it really easy now. I hope I can explain it OK.
For example, if you want to find 6 x 7,
Step 1 - hold up 7 fingers.
Step 2 - count up in 5's along the 7 fingers (you'll get to 35 here)
Step 3 - go back to the start of your fingers and keep counting but go up in "1"s. (so 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42)
You've then got the answer.
Again, for 6 x 3.
Step 1 - hold up 3 fingers
Step 2 - count in 5s (5, 10 , 15)
Step 3 - back to start and keep counting in 1s (16, 17, 18)
It sounds tricky when I try to write it down but it is really simple once you've tried it a couple of times.
Hope she gets her confidence back. Maths is great!!
Oh I'm joining this thread as DD1 is having the same trouble!
Ooh meala - thats good a good tip about the 6 times tables!
Lots of general maths ideas here nrich.maths.org/frontpage
Just wanted to say many thanks all,some really good tips and ideas,really helpful.
Does anybody know how some kids just pick them up effortlessly,is it linked to enjoying maths?Dd's brothers who love maths literally picked them up with zero effort or input from me. Dd is a whole different kettle fish.
On testing 6s last night think we've cracked it.
4s and 8s next <weak yay>
I know this is probably not terribly helpful, but I remember my mum (and middle school) attempting to get me to learn my times tables by any method possible, and absolutely insisting that basically my life would not be worth living if I didn't memorize them all. This terrified me, but not enough to make me learn them all and guess what...it really hasn't done me that much harm.
Having said that, I have a caveat here - I do think it's important that kids learn the basics of mental arithmetic. For some, this means learning all the times tables by heart and then using that as their basis. For others, i.e. me, it was more about realising that I could still do mental arithmetic (albeit a bit slower) without necessarily instantly knowing all my tables, which in turn stopped me being terrified of it - so now I'm always willing to work things out in my head, even if it means me getting to the results in a slightly roundabout way. I hope that makes some sense!
(To this day my mother still seems to find it difficult to believe that I have managed to get a degree, find a job and run a home without instantly being able to answer when she barks "seven nines?? SEVEN NINES??")
I had a times tables song CD but we did get pretty sick of it.
I also used these worksheets. Print them off, cut them up into small 10 question bits...
I gave DD 10p bonus pocket money for each one she completed - it worked! She'd do two or three a day no problem.
We've made practice cards of multiplication and division facts for each table. I would strongly recommend learning the division facts along side the multiplication facts.
Draw a 5 row / 4 column grid on an A4 sheet, which should give you 20 boxes. Write down all the multiplication sums, one per box (1x6, 2x6, 3x6 etc to 10x6) and then the division sums (6/6, 12/6, 18/6 etc to 60/6) until all the boxes are used up. On the reverse (you should be able to see the grid pattern through the paper) you write the answers to each sum (e.g. the card saying 8x6 on one side has the answer 48 on the reverse). Cut the cards out.
It's easy to practice the tables if you put the cards 'sum up' on the table and see if you can get the answer right by turning the card over. You can start by laying them out in order, but ultimately it is best if your DD knows them in any random order. Then you can of course place the cards reverse side up and ask which sum would give that particular answer; "Here's 48. Which numbers do I need to multiply to get 48?" and so on.
I incentivise the children by letting them set fire to the cards for the tables they know by heart in an old barbeque in the playground (all managed with safety in mind, a tip I got from a colleague who uses this strategy for times tables and who sets fire to just about everything in her class), and I've never seen kids learn times tables with such fervour and zeal .
My dds school sing them, not sure where the tunes are from but they have them on CD and on the PC. It also better that they learn to recall them as in 1 six is 6,
2 sixes are 12 etc rather than saying 6, 12, 18, 24 etc as this helps with mental recall better when they need them for maths.
Laquila I don't know mine either, dd1 taught me an easy way to learn 8 x 8 ( I ate and I ate till I was sick on the floor 64!) I'm watching with interest dd2 is just learning hers like ops daughter has done well with 2s 5s and 10s. We're onto 3's now.
Great tip meala will be teaching her that method .
The Squeebles app for ipad etc. It is fabulous.
Ooooo dd will love the sick on the floor rhyme.
One of those grids
I should say that it wasn't until the grand old age of 43 that I learnt my tables using the kids' Squeebles app!
Haha haveapear that's very useful, thank you!! I know a few - obviously the fives, twos and tens - it's the sevens, eights and nines I have trouble with!
My mum drummed into me that 6 x 8 = 48, 7 x 7 = 49 and 6 + 8 = 14, so I basically do all my mental arithmetic from that basis! ;)
Stick a copy of the 10x10 table (large) on front of her maths book.
Later on, reduce the table to a triangle to reinforce that you only need to remember half the table.
Where is the sick on the ground song please? Also I LOVE the idea of burning the cards feelling!
another app is Times Table Clock, good for those visual learners who don't get on with the auditory repetition/songs angle. There's another set of rhyming cards (something like times table rhyme) that has a lot of rhymes for each fact that kind of go with different characters. Also SumDog has a lot of games that practice multiplication, though it tends to be recognition rather than actually coming up with the right answer, which is a slightly different process. I remind children that there are only 36 facts that have to be learned between 2x and 9x, and a good chunk of those they already know, leaving only about 10-15 needing to be actually memorised. Doing just one of them each day and letting the children come up with a reason/method to remember that one can help.
It's not a song just one rhyme to remember 8x8 which is as above I ate and I ate till I was sick on the floor (64) could do with some more rhymes though any one else know of any?
Maths Bingo app is good too. And good old fashioned learning by rote and bribaey. ie writing them out, and then doing the sums in random order (times and divides). A penny for every correct one is the current rate - my daughter is saving up for a new top Model colouring book thing and well on her way!
The one I used to use when teaching Maths was times table snap.
For 3 players (or 2 and a parent)
You need a set of cards with the numbers 1, 2, 3 etc, right up to 12. You can vary the ratios of the cards in the pack i.e. load it with more 2s and 3s but you need at least one of each number. You also need to make it clear which one is a 6 and which a 9 etc
Divide the cards into two even piles.
Each player holds the cards face down. They both expose once card from the top of their pile at the same time.
The first one to accurately shout out the product of the two numbers wins the cards. These cards are gathered up and placed face down at the bottom of the pile they already own
The aim is to win all the cards.
Player 3 is the adjudicator. Sometimes it helps to supply them with a times table square. They get to decide who was first with the accurate answer and to punish any obvious cheating.
In the case of a dead draw with the answer, the turn goes to a war. The two exposed cards are left face up. Each player puts one card face down over the exposed card, then both flip another face up. The winner gets all 6 cards.
Play this with siblings and I guarantee the natural competitiveness will result in shouted games and a very swift absorption of the times tables. You could also try it with friends/cousins/classmates or someone near in age/ability.
Not the weather for it, but I used swingball as a learning tool for DD - I'd say a sum to her as I hit the ball, and she couldn't hit it back until she came up with the answer. The secret wasn't really anything fantastic, just that it was a method that didn't make her instantly EXTREMELY grumpy. She may also have stuck with it because she knew I'd play swingball with her as long as she kept up the times tables (she loves swingball, I bloody don't).
She really did struggle with everything bar 1 and 10, until she got to 7, which I told her was the hardest times table. She very smugly told me it was easy ... of course by then she knew all the sums except 7 x 7.
DH meanwhile has a first class maths degree and has to work out 7 x 8 by adding 7 to 49 - it's alright to have a blind spot or two in tables, as long as you have a strategy!
Squeebles. Dd was resistant to learning her times tables for a year, then learnt them in 2 weeks when I bought the Squeebles app. It's on keystagefun.com. Can't recommend it enough.
Thanks for all the fantastic tips on this thread. Dd is dyslexic and struggles with sequencing, we've tried a few things, she has the sqeebles app and our latest thing is that I,ve written out the answers on A5 card, I scatter them over the floor and she has to jump from one answer to the other when I call out the question. I'm not sure if it's working, but it just needs trial and error on different techniques.
The funny thing is some of them she remembers, so she instantly knows 7x6 but struggles with3x3.
Deffo learning by rote. I was never taught my tables at my hippy primary school and my maths really suffered. We use mathletics songs, very catchy but have been stuck in my head for the last few weeks!
Another Squeebles App. fan here, our DDs actually ask to do maths they enjoy it so much. Repetition and throwing out random questions when doing other things - you know, they're colouring a picture and you call out 'seven eights?'
How old are the children who like the Squeebles App?
timestableclock.com is an excellent little app based on clock solitaire.
It is fun too whether or not you need to practice tables (no, it doesn't belong to me but I do wish I had thought of it)!!
little and often here as well. DD practices hers on the way to school to earn her computer time, just 5 minutes. As she got onto 7, 8 and 9 we started doing 5 mins in the evening too, before bedtime story.
So we incentivise
bribe here and it's working she is seven and knows them all, just working on speed of recall now.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Thanks to Sugarbeach and anyone else who recommended squeebles app.
Downloaded this evening for DD who hates times tables, in the end I had to prise the iPad off her! just hope she's as keen tomorrow.
We got a cd and played it in the car. It seemed to help.
Great thread. Two tips that might be helpful, speaking as a mum of a tables-hater.
First is 5-6-7-8 (7x8 =56) as that's a tricky one.
Second is a trick for 9x table. Hold up both hands in front of you and each finger represents 1-10 of the 9x table. So for 1x9, put down the first digit. You then calculate the answer as every finger to the left of the lowered digit is the tens column and everything to the right is the units. Much easier to do than write!
So if you are doing 3x9, you'd put down the middle finger of your left hand. There would then be two digits to the left (ie 20) and seven digits to the right (ie 7), making 27.
Anyone still with me?
EATmum, the nine time table trick with fingers was revelatory to me! It absolutely works and my elder two find it useful too =)
Like the 5678 trick, there's also 1234 (12=3x4).
The six times table counting fives then ones will be so helpful for DD - we're at the tricky stage of learning 6, 7 and 8's just now. Apparently sevens are the most difficult to learn. I've seen mention of using a telephone keypad to help work them out. It does kind of work but is a bit tricky to explain.
A telephone keypad has the numbers set out like this:
1 2 3
4 5 6
7 8 9
Start off in the bottom left corner with the 7 (that is 1x7). Go up one (to the four) and add a one before it (2x7 is 14). Up to the one for 3x7=21. Back down to the eight: 4x7=28, and so on. Leaving the zero for last which is 10x7=70.
It's not so straightforward but could be helpful in at least recalling the end digits of the 7xtables!
It does matter as not knowing really holds them up with other things later on.
Struggling to follow some of these fingers tricks and rhymes now.....isn't it easier to just learn the times tables straight by rote than having to remember all these various tricks....?
...have fun, have fun, with multiplicaaatioooon!....
I will never, ever in all my born days get that tune out of my head. Thanks for nothing, times tables tape from the 90s. And I have it all to go through again in about 4 years' time...
But to drag myself back into the 21st century, my sister has an app on her smart phone for her children that involves splatting the multiplication and the answer from a sea of other answers that seems rather good. I''ll ask her what it's called.
You can actually be quite good at maths and poor at tables. My DP was a maths whizz and he never knew his tables. Similarly he got a 1st in physics and never remembered equations, he reworked them from scratch in exams. He has quite a poor memory. My 12yo dd is similar in that she can't remember tables, or spellings, terrible memory, but she's good at maths and particularly at the sort of 3-d spatial maths ("origami maths", I call it).
I'd work on making maths fun, showing them the different patterns and how the times tables work visually, say (a bit like Meala's post).
Bingo. Set her up with bingo cards with the answers on, and then ask her the multiplication questions.
Percy Parker on iPad.
Set to songs
Gosh slug, that snap idea is good!
Great advice on here but I think you also need to work on the "hates maths" bit aswell. She's only in primary - she'll have to do it till she 's 16 so any fun app/website and LOTS of praise will help (whicjh I'm sure you do )
I have to admit, I don't know all mine by heart and I have Maths A levels and an Engineering degree....but I'm not going to say that it doesn't matter to dd, just sends the wrong message I think.
Sqeeebles rocks, dd has it on her ipod touch and I have it on my android tablet.
Tables is different to maths as you are just remembering a list of facts by rote.
We always learn the bottom half 1st, 1-6, then test out of order. This gives dd confidence as she is halfway there. Then we work on the top half, invariably she will know the 10 and 11 so it only leaves 4 number facts.
Alongside learning by rote I also teach her how ro work it out when she cannot remebera number fact. Jumping off at 5 or 10 and counting up or down accordingly.
we did rote learning. It stuck, but its not all that much use. In some ways you either get maths or you dont. But it matters
This time table diagram style sheets helps my ds2
My DS's aged 3and 4 have been listening to a CD in the car everyday on the way to and from school and on weekend trips. DS1 (4) has picked them up really quickly - we are on 7 times table now. DS2 (3) knows his 2 and 5 times table. The CD was from ELC and is great!
My DD always foudn times tables a struggle and we tried different ways of learning but really the only way that worked was by going over and over them until she had leanrt them by heart.
I told her that she only ever needs to learn them once and once she knows them she will never have to learn them again as she will always remember and that helped her put it in perspective a bit too.
Thanks to all the posters who have just recommended Squeebles for the ipad, I have just bought this for DS1 who is 4YO. Anything that will help and he particularly likes learning with apps when at home.
Joining thread so I can come back and try out all the tips. Cheers for posting tips and for asking op!
When I was learning the 9's timetable, my mom taught me up to 9x5, then it's all backwards.
09 18 27 36 45, then the reverse of that 54 63 72 81 90. That is my only trick, which is why I
only still remember 9's to this day.
For 9s, put out your 10 fingers, tuck in the finger (starting from the left) of whatever you want to multiply by 9, so for example for 4 x 9 stretch out your fingers and put down your index finger (4th from left). You are left with 3 fingers on the left before the tucked in finger and 6 on the right. The number of fingers on the left= tens (in this case 30) and to the right are the units (6). Try it! (only works up to 10x9 obviously!
DD1 had supposedly learned all her times tables by the end of Yr 3, and then had a brief refresher on them in Yr 4. I saw her times table book, all signed off by her Yr 4 teacher.
After DD1's first session with her 11+ tutor, he mentioned she would need to quickly learn her times tables I was shocked, and insisted she knew them. Tutor politely disagreed, and said he'd never really had any pupil who had instant recall of their times tables, and knew them out of sequence, back to front, upside down etc - because schools no longer teach rote learning (he sighed as he said this).
Tutor said she would need instant recall, purely for speed, during the 11+ exam.
Turns out he was right, she didn't have a clue. She could stumble through a few of them, but was hopeless at the rest.
Cue Times Tables Boot Camp for the rest of that week, constant rote chanting in a sing-song voice. I got her to chant whilst in the car, in the bath, before each meal, as she got dressed, every time she washed her hands, all day, every day.
She had them down pat in 7 days. Instant recall, and could also recall them out of sequence, and inverted e.g. 'How many 7s in 49? rather than just 'What's 7 X 7?'
If she knows the 3 x table then she can double it to get the 6x table. Works if she can double accurately. Double tens, then units and add the two together. But practise practise practise is key. Chanting and counting in 6's on fingers too can help embed learning.
Am just marking my place- some great tips, thanks.
With my DSDs I made a pairs game which really helped them. 48 cards, 4 each of 2-12, two 1s and two 0s. Lay them all out face down. Pick up any two cards, say what the product is (obviously this only works once you've covered all tables, but perhaps you could adapt it for just certain tables?), you only get one guess. If you get it right, take the cards, if not, put them back and choose different cards (or if there's more than one player, it becomes someone else's turn). Keep going until all cards are gone. You can time it whenever they play to see an improvement
See this thread here - lots of recommendations for Timez Attack! (My dd loves it!)
Another vote for squeebles on the ipad. We also have this cd - recommended by someone on here. Good for helping learn by rote but also has different tracks with gaps in for testing them.
9 times table is easiest (except 0, 10 and 1!) ...lots of lovely patterns...
all the number add together to make 9 and first number is always one less...ie 3 x 9 = 27 (so first number is 2 (one less than 3) and 2+7 make 9.
And what samaralee said - the same backwards as forward 09 18 27 36 45 then 54 (45 backwards etc) 63 72 81 90
Also first number is always one more - eg 27 to 36 (2 becomes 3) second number is always one less ( 7 becomes 6)
Looking at pages of ten lots of each times tables to learn can be overwhelming - you only need to learn 36? (something like that anyway-might be 34 - too lazy to work it out at moment) -
eg once you know the easy ones ( 1x and 10x) - and then say up to your 6x times table - you only need to learn 3 more and you know your 7x (so 7x7, 8x7, 9x7), 2 more for your 8x table (8x8, 9x8) and just one for 9x (9x9)...(always knew this then DD1 brought a sheet home once with it laid out ..like stairs - stepping stones or something - can't remember)
I think they have understand what it means (4 lots of 2 ...vs 2 lots of four etc and 6+6+6 -so if they have a mind blank they can work it out) but having said that - I think learning by rote is important (how I learned them at PS many many years ago and then age 9-11 every day, first thing the teacher turned the board and there were 100+ mixed times tables (0x to 12x) - we had ten minutes to write just the answers and marked each others - very quickly we all got them all right!)
Ooh, squeebles seems to have lots of different educational games on iPad
<prepares bank balance to take a hit>
Great fingers tip!
Another rhyme -
"Wakey wakey rise and shine, 7 x 7 is 49"
Loving the rhymes! I second the fingers for 9x also remember its 1 up 1 down eg 9-18-27 and answers add up to 9. doubling the answers for the 2x and 3x to help with the 4x and 6x. Multiplication grid is great when Dc realize that they only have to learn half of it. I couldn't do my multiplications until I was 16 and I worked my ass off going through them, wish I knew all of this when I was younger.
Squeebles is going down very well here.
Same here FOC. DD too young for the times tables one but she has played the addition one and loves it!
Ha, I never learnt my tables, just found it impossible. And yet I have done fairly well. God I hated maths at school.
Learning times tables is very important.Absolutely fundamental
Can I just mention I only mastered my 3x at 16 due to repetition in my job! . I was bottom set for maths all through school. Then became a manager for a betting office, working out winning bets using my brain!
You can get by without knowing times tables but it takes longer.
the best way to learn tables is to have children - then you are forced to practice them every day/week. I am ace at them now only hope DC don't have to wait til they're 40 something!!
It does matter. I am pretty good at maths and studying it with the OU, but I am crap at tables. I struggle with 6, 7 and 8. It really holds me up. The problem is that I never learned them by rote at school. For some reason my year didn't do much tables. I really wish I had learned them then.
Dd downloaded this app yesterday, and loves it. Best thing is that you can see how well doing on each table. Seems that 7's are vexing!
I never knew my tables, and got a high grade at A'level Maths, I did always say Maths was more fun when they got rid of the numbers. Maths ability and the ability to learn tables is nothing like the same thing.
However, I was able to calculate reasonably quickly because I knew enough "tables facts" and could quickly work out the others. I also seemed to do far more calculations at Primary school than my children have. Even my talented at Maths DD, definitely seems to know less Maths than I did at her age (eg. area of circles, lots of fractions, and very used to division).
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