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Times Tables - Tricks/Tips

(47 Posts)
SlightlyJaded Sun 06-Jan-13 12:37:17

DD7 is bright and does well at school. Her concentration is pretty poor however and she finds her mind wanders if she is either finding the work too easy or conversely can't do it 'straight away'

We are really struggling with times tables. I have been trying to teach her 'prolly parrot' fashion as this how I learned as a child and it worked for me. It's not working. She can chant he way through them but I know she is 'adding' in her head because the minute I throw random tables at her, she crumbles.

Does anyone have any tips!ideas? I am wondering if there are any 'cool songs/rapsblush that might help? Websites/CDs?

Anything that worked for you


SconeInSixtySeconds Mon 11-Feb-13 20:31:12

Hmm...I am sensing one of those tricksy maths teacher questions! Well, it doesn't say that each child had seven rabbits, merely that there were seven rabbit and that they each had seven kittens so....


<crosses fingers>

alanyoung Mon 11-Feb-13 20:02:25

SconeInSixtySeconds, if seven children had seven rabbits and each rabbit had seven babies, how many baby rabbits would there be?

SconeInSixtySeconds Mon 11-Feb-13 16:15:23

I meant of course grin

SconeInSixtySeconds Mon 11-Feb-13 16:14:47

I have just had a look at alanyoung's link ^^ and I think it is a great idea. I love the idea of a number square but with it all mashed up.

I did learn my tables at school, and it was massively useful, and as Alan says when I came to do maths gcses and a level, knowing the squares/cubes and roots saved time.

It might be a little sad that I still know that the cube of 7 is 343 and I last used it in anger 21 years ago...:0

alanyoung Wed 30-Jan-13 17:11:40

Hi Pastsellbydate,
Shocking, isn't it. It's not the learning of a couple of extra table facts I'm agin, that's really a no-brainer as you say. It's the whole concept of keeping imperial units at all in the modern world. When I get a moment, I'll write a longer piece on this subject to remind people of the problems.
Thanks for your link, but it brought tears to my eyes.

WhatKindofFool Mon 28-Jan-13 21:33:03

If you have an iPad or iPhone, get the Sqeebles app. It is ace.

loopsngeorge Mon 28-Jan-13 18:07:43

Just wanted to say thanks for this thread which i read with interest as my DS (8) was still not secure with his times tables. We bought the Percy Parker CD and he absolutely loves it and can pretty much recite them all now through singing the songs.
Thanks so much for the recommendation as I had never seen or heard of Percy Parker anywhere else!

PastSellByDate Mon 28-Jan-13 06:21:23

Hi Alan & all following this:

Sorry to rain on your parade, but it seems that imperial measurements are back on the national curriculum (link here :, couldn't find BBC link - so best I could do via google).

Since learning 11x11, 11 x 12 and 12 x 12 is all that is necessary post learning all times tables to 10 - it really isn't too onerous.

solidfoundation Sun 27-Jan-13 16:44:03

Thanks for the advice on this.

alanyoung Sun 27-Jan-13 13:58:58

Sorry. Somehow that went up twice. Not sure what I did there!

alanyoung Sun 27-Jan-13 13:57:51

I think square numbers are important because of Pythagoras’ Theorem, but how far you go depends on the age and ability of the child.

alanyoung Sun 27-Jan-13 13:57:42

I think square numbers are important because of Pythagoras’ Theorem, but how far you go depends on the age and ability of the child.

teacherwith2kids Sun 27-Jan-13 11:09:51

Depends - square numbers aren't as generally useful as times tables, so I would say that for most purposes, those square numbers within the 'times table range' (up to 12 x 12) should be known as part of times tables, and beyond that children should know how to calculate an square numer as part of their knowledge of multiplicaction methods.

solidfoundation Sun 27-Jan-13 09:39:45

Should children learn the square numbers up to 20 squared or is 10 squared enough?

alanyoung Tue 22-Jan-13 08:10:54

You can also practise tables when you are out and about. For example, if you see a vent in the side of a building (the type that is made up of rows of holes), you can ask your children how many holes there are. Don't let them count them - make sure they count how many in a row and how many rows there are and multiply the two together.

You will find many examples like this - paving slabs, tiles etc.

alanyoung Mon 21-Jan-13 19:04:04

I'm often asked if it is necessary to learn the eleven and twelve times tables. My answer is normally that the elevens are very easy so that's a no brainer and generally speaking, the twelves are not necessary as we do not calculate in ft and inches or in shillings and pence, but I would never say not to learn something that can be learnt and has a use that you can see.

What I would say, though, is that learning the square numbers up to twenty is probably more useful because of Pythagoras' Theorem. You can save precious seconds in an exam if you know that 169 is the square of 13, for example.

alanyoung Sun 20-Jan-13 22:45:31

Hi Learnandsay, you may well be right, but that doesn't detract from my argument - you can still be badly taught by a teacher who may be good with a different ability group.

learnandsay Sun 20-Jan-13 19:07:44

Alan, the problem is one child's bad teacher can be another child's brilliant one. Some teachers aren't all that good at explaining their subject to the stragglers. Stragglers often get ignored. (Or they used to when I was at school.) I think the emphasis might have shifted in recent years because now all pupils are expected to make a standard amount of progress. There was no such rule when I was at school. And then there are teachers who aren't that good at working with the brightest children (they find differentiating work too difficult.) So the aspects of a teacher which appeal to one child may well not appeal to another. It's probably really difficult to please everybody.

alanyoung Sun 20-Jan-13 18:40:33

Frizy, if as a child you were poor at maths at school, it was probably because you were badly taught and this is very common. I think the reason is that maths is a cumulative subject, so you only need one bad teacher in primary school, for example, and that could be your lot for the next few years! It takes a special teacher to help you catch up a bad year.

teacherwith2kids Sat 19-Jan-13 15:48:01

Percy Parker
Free online [sometimes goes offline, though]
and links from there.

Or you can pay to download it from iTunes:

CDs are available from Sherston Publishing as well.

alanyoung Sat 19-Jan-13 11:21:20

Frizy, well done on a great career move, but it's a pity that you still have to run through the whole table to get to the one you need. Tables should be learnt as independent facts just like the capital cities of countries or the names of dinosaurs. That saves a great deal of time.

alanyoung Fri 18-Jan-13 17:34:33

I should perhaps also argue that the most important aspect of fraction work is equivalent fractions. Very difficult to progress in this area without such knowledge and of course a knowledge of tables is essential for producing equivalent fractions.

SlightlyJaded Thu 17-Jan-13 23:54:34

FWIW. My opening post should have read DD2 (7). Not DD7. I am not super mumgrin

alanyoung Thu 17-Jan-13 19:50:14

It's important to know times tables really well since they are used in so many aspects of maths from multiplication sums right up to algebraic fractions. Any child that does not know them really well is at a real disadvantage compared to those that do.

Frizy Thu 17-Jan-13 15:56:43

As a child I was poor at maths...

I had a cassette tape nack in the day called 'Multiplication'... and for each one it sang a song..

I am now a chartered accountant and still can recall the songs when I'm sat in meetings trying to work out 9 times 6.

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