# Talk

## How bad will it be to start Y7 not knowing times tables?

(39 Posts)
LucasNorthCanSpookMeAnytime Fri 11-Jul-14 14:23:06

Just that really.

Fri 11-Jul-14 14:26:19

My dd1 doesn't know all of her tables, despite us spending hours and hours going over them with her. She's 16 and has taken her gcse maths this summer. She's predicted a B grade but has been scoring higher on practise papers.

Hakluyt Fri 11-Jul-14 14:31:42

Well, life is sooo much easier if you do. And the less aptitude for maths you have the more helpful it is to know your tables.

Has your year 6 tried and not got them or not tried

TeenAndTween Fri 11-Jul-14 14:31:52

You can get by in secondary being ropey on your times tables, but life is so much easier if you know them in a usable way, for example to spot that 72 and 54 are both divisible by 9.

e.g.
for simplifying fractions, and fraction work in general.
when dealing with ratios
for HCF / LCM work
just in any question where you need to multiply or divide anything

If you don't know the times tables then by the time you have worked that bit out, you have forgotten where you were headed with the question. Or you can lose marks by making simple errors.

(My DD1 y10 struggles with basic maths even though she can solve simultaneous equations etc).

findingherfeet Fri 11-Jul-14 14:34:07

I started secondary not knowing very basic maths (my primary school were very focused on music/art and reading as we're my parents)

I found it incredibly hard, I was in top sets (not sure if they do this now) for my classes but maths I just couldn't keep up with, my friends had a level of knowledge above mine and I was still counting on my fingers!

Despite being a bit of a troublesome and lazy teenager who did little work but wrote well so got good marks, I remember revising really hard for maths GCSE - but just scrapped a C grade (thankfully to get into college)

I will make sure my children learn this and other basic math skills ASAP. I'm still hopeless now and it's embarrassing.

ThinkIveBeenHacked Fri 11-Jul-14 14:43:05

How is her grasp on multiplication generally? If you asked her what 15 x 10 was does she "get" that she just needs to add the zero onto the 15? And if you ask her to multiply something by four does she "get" that she needs to double it then double it again?

Knowing the rules (for want of a better word) for multiplying will serve her better than being able to recite them rote.

noblegiraffe Fri 11-Jul-14 14:43:15

It will be bad, so get it sorted over the summer if you can. A bit of practice every day should make a big difference. There are games on the internet that can help with practice to make it a bit more interesting.

(I'm a maths teacher. People will say 'oh I never learned my tables and I as fine' but they are in a minority. Mainly kids who don't know their table struggle with stuff from fractions to algebra, and they lose lots of marks in tests by making silly mistakes,)

coppertop Fri 11-Jul-14 14:47:18

My Yr9 ds still doesn't really know most of his time tables but is doing very well in Maths. It would be easier if he did know them though.

Interestingly his maths teacher confessed that she doesn't know times tables very well either, so presumably it's not a massive barrier to doing well.

LucasNorthCanSpookMeAnytime Fri 11-Jul-14 14:57:30

Thanks all. She just seems to have a real block with them - we have tried and tried. She can remember them for a day but they're gone the next day.

noblegiraffe Fri 11-Jul-14 15:02:18

Then she needs to work out which ones she can remember (there must be some), the problematic ones, and work on those. Times tables songs might help, our brains are usually good at remembering lyrics. If she can't remember e.g. 6*9, can she quickly remember 5*9 and add on 9?

Not having instant recall isn't so much of an issue if she has strategies to work out a tricky few. But if she finds herself working out 5*9 by counting up in 5s on her fingers, then that will be a problem.

ElephantsNeverForgive Fri 11-Jul-14 15:08:47

Depends on why she doesn't know them.

If like DD1, she's dyslexic and they float off into the ether even when she does learn them, she'll fund a way to cope.

If she's simply never really bothered, then learning them is well worth it.

DD doesn't tend to make mistakes because she knows she needs to scribble tables in the margin, bht it is a pain and it dies waste time.

whyayepetal Fri 11-Jul-14 15:18:48

Has she tried this one for learning 9x table? With both hands in front of you, palms up, tuck in the left thumb (1x9) the number of unbent digits is nine - 1x9=9. Now straighten thumb and bend index finger (2nd digit therefore 2x9). One unbent thumb before index finger and 8 unbent digits after reads as 18. This works all the way up to 10x9, and then you only have to memorise two more! Hope this makes sense, it is much easier to show people than write it. Both my DDs found this useful at primary and still use it now (15 and 13). Particularly useful when exam stress kicks in they have found.

LeapingOverTheWall Fri 11-Jul-14 15:39:00

DD is in her third year of a maths degree (not so stealth boast - she's on target for a first ) and doesn't know her times tables. She wrote them out on scrap paper at the beginning of non calculator exam papers . So it hasn't stopped her, because she can work them out as quickly as if she actually knew them.

However, she agrees that primary and secondary maths would have been easier if she had been able to remember them.

We found this website useful as it visually shows the relationship between eg 6 x 8 and 8 x 6. Also the "sneaky hint" that you only need to actually learn a few. Eg the 2 x table is pretty easy, generally you know those ones. So 4 x is just double 2 x. Same with 6 x being double 3 x. 9 x is the "finger trick" mentioned below. 8 x is double double 2 x. and then you're left with 7 x as the only really difficult one (as 5 x and 10 x are also straightforward enough).

So if you can count in 2s, 5s and 10s, all you need to learn is 3 x and 7x. And you already know them as you've learned/worked out the opposite way round.

In a lot of cases it's "learning times tables" as a thing which sounds difficult and scary - turn it into sneaky tricks to avoid having to learn them, and often "as if by magic" they've sunk in .

LucasNorthCanSpookMeAnytime Fri 11-Jul-14 15:58:04

whyayepetyal, she actually showed me the 9 times on your fingers one, it's brilliant! So that's the only one I'm not bothered about learning.

Thanks for the links and ideas. Perhaps the problem is that we only practise them once or twice a week - maybe we should be doing it every day.

Fri 11-Jul-14 16:37:18

we did practise them daily, and they stayed in her head for years 4 and 5 when they were being tested, after we stopped practising them they fell out of her head!

I'm sure knowing them would make maths much easier, but there are only so many battles I'm willing to have and this isn't one of them!

Scoobyblue Fri 11-Jul-14 18:16:53

You don't need to know them but it will make life so much easier if you do, especially when you are working under time pressure as you will be at GCSE. Summer hols are great for learning times tables - will be well worth the effort in the long run.

mummytime Fri 11-Jul-14 18:25:35

I didn't know my tables at that age, but I could work them out pretty quickly. I got a good A'level in Maths and further maths and studied a numerate subject. I know a Stamford Professor in Maths education who doesn't know hers.
Tables can be over rated. But being able to work around them and having confidence is crucial.

Fri 11-Jul-14 18:36:24

Print out a multiplication grid from the internet. Test which ones s/he knows and colour those squares in. Then concentrate on those left. By 'know,' I would say that means within 5 seconds (absolute maximum) and no counting on fingers.
Get. Them. Learnt. Invaluable skill.

Noodledoodledoo Sat 12-Jul-14 04:14:11

Another maths teacher here who thinks it will make her life a lot easier knowing them. I do lots of times tables games withmy classes who are weak as a pprevious poster said they underpin so much it will hamper her.

Don't just focus on one set I would throw questions at her randomly driving places in the car etc Knowing them in order means they have to start at 1x each time. Another one I use is throwing four dice two each of a different colour ie 2 red 2 blue total the same colour and multiply

Hakluyt Sat 12-Jul-14 07:50:49

It's interesting that everyone saying that tables arn't that important seem to be people with maths A levels or even degrees.

I think for people without an aptitude for maths tables can make a huge difference. My dd really struggled, but then had a very old fashioned teacher in year 6 who made them learn tables to 15 times by rote, bribing them with huge amounts of chocolate and having competitions, and spot checks (which, bizarrely, they all enjoyed very much). It made such a difference to dd- she was the sort of person who was never really convinced that if you multiplied 2 by 2 it would always be 4. But she ended up with an A at GCSE maths- and I'm convinced quick recall of tables was a big part of that. It gave her a solid platform to work from.

Sat 12-Jul-14 08:01:12

The dc's have to practice with a pack of playing cards. Take out the picture cards so you're left with 1 (ace) to 10, shuffle and get through the pack in 2 mins. We've been known to do it every day, keeps them ticking over.

Their school learns up to the 13 x table. I need to start swotting up on that one .

Sat 12-Jul-14 08:11:06

if you really want her to get it, you need to practice every day.
we did it like this
1. say the table and once she has it, say it faster, so there is no 'working out' it is all recall
2. quick fire test her on the table mixed up. If she can't give you the answer instantly, repeat that one a few times
3. test the facts as division facts, so 12divided by 4 = ? and so on.

We had a penny jar, for every time we got through a table correctly a penny went in the jar (so in one session she got quite a few pennies)

We repeated one table til he had it, then the next day, did a quick tests of the previous table and started on the new one. Every day there was a revision and a new one, so she didn't forget the previous ones.

I also did patterns, so we tested square numbers (2x2, 3x3, 4x4 etc)

I think it takes quite a lot of effort to really get them well, and it is worth it, as it is one thing less to worry about when working out maths

LucasNorthCanSpookMeAnytime Sat 12-Jul-14 10:35:55

Some good ideas here. She will definitely go for the penny jar one! She isn't very good at maths and I know she needs to learn them as it's so much easier - I was just worried that she would be the only one who hadn't learned them yet.

Sat 12-Jul-14 10:56:01

I have a child in my current class who really struggles with maths; however, her mum has put a huge effort into making sure that, if nothing else, she knows her tables and number bonds. This child is my 'go-to' child during Oral/Mental starters, when the other, more mathematically able, kids are looking shifty and surreptitiously wiggling their fingers. It builds her confidence no end to be seen to be "better" than them.

Kenlee Sat 12-Jul-14 12:57:08

My daughter said a few girls at her school hadn't learnt it and struggled... Then she taught them the patterns to remember them.

such as your 9 times table...

1X9=9
2X9=18
so by the rest follows 10 to 90
and the 8 reduces im number from 8 to 0

so 5X9=45
following tje pattern add Ten minus one

6X9...is 54

each one time table has its pattern

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