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Advice on Maths please?

(7 Posts)
Viewofthehills Wed 06-Feb-13 23:02:28

Thanks, tried this morning. She did 3's which she is very close to getting off pat, followed by 10's, just to let her feel clever. Great idea smile

PastSellByDate Tue 05-Feb-13 13:56:54

Hi Viewofthehills:

having just seen that you've got an easily distracted DD can I suggest two things which help keep attention focused:

Play speed multiply:

Standard deck of cards. Face cards = 10 and Ace = 1:

Deal a set amount to each player: at least 10 cards.

Now give each player a piece of paper and a pencil. The game is simply to agree a times table you are practicing (say x6) and then to work out the product for each card - so flip a card and work out what 6 x that card would be. Then go on to the next card.

The rules are straightforward -

1) Agree which times table you are practicing - say x6
2) Then agree to start on count of 3
3) First person to finish all 10 problems correctly wins.

Great because it is fast and furious - but also useful in teaching them to quickly check over their work.

Make it interesting - play for chores (winner gets out of setting the table or making their bed, etc...).


There is a free version (2 platforms) of Timez attack - a dungeons and dragons style game where you go through a castle or dungeon as a young ogre and solve multiplication problems. Info here:

The game works out where you're at and has you build multiplication skills from there. The times tables are taught in groups of 3, with both counting up and standard vertical problems. At the end of each problem, you're quizzed by a medium-sized ogre and at the end of each level you're quizzed by a big ogre. It's video game format and the scary ogres makes it more a game than learning and both DDs have found this a lot of fun.


Viewofthehills Mon 04-Feb-13 21:20:52

Thanks all. Lots of good ideas there to keep us going - jrtolkien- she does understand the group thing. I guess it's just memorising. She might learn them a bit quicker if she didn't continually interrupt herself to tell me some snippet of information I can't live without! We shall keep at

PastSellByDate Mon 04-Feb-13 10:49:52

Hi Viewofthehills:

It sounds to me like she's been presented with concepts and understands what needs to be done, but hasn't mastered the skills - a very similar problem for both of my DDs.

I found the solution was practice and there are all sorts of options:

Homemade solutions: Practicing a particular times table at a time - best to start with 2x, 5x and 10x. These can be counting by 2s to 20 (or 24 if going all the way to x12), counting by 5s to 50 (or 60 if going all the way to x12) and counting by 10s to 100 (or 120 if going all the way to 12).

Then best to introduce x3 (counting by 3s).

Then try introducing the concept of doubling. This is useful because x4 and x8 is just more doublings of 2 (x4 = x2 and double answer and x8 = x2, double and double again). x6 is really the same idea (x3 and double).

x7 is then less tricky because in effect you know x1 - x6 and x8 - so you're missing 7x7 and 7x9. Sometimes people introduce x9 first - because there are tricks.

x9 tricks: hold both hands palm upwards - from left thumb, number each thumb/ finger 1, 2, 3, around to right thumb = 10. Now decide what you're multiplying 9 by - say 4 - count to 4 from left thumb and fold foueth finger down. Anything to the left of the folded fingers is the number in the tens and anything to right is the number in the units. So you should have fourth finger folded down, 3 fingers up to the left (= 30) and six fingers up to the right (=6) - so 4 x 9 = 36.

The other trick is to look at the digits in the answers:

1 x 9 = 09
2 x 9 = 18
3 x 9 = 27
4 x 9 = 36
5 x 9 = 45

First note that the digits in the units and tens columns of the answers added together always = 9. Next notice that the digit in the tens column is always one less than the number you're multiplying 9 by. So 7 x 9 - the answer will = 9 if you add tens digit and units digit together and you know that it starts with 6 (one less than 7) so 7 x 9 = 6? and you know that the digits in the answer = 9 so what is added to 6 = 9 - 3 - so the answer to 7 x 9 = 63.

11s - this is very easy to x9 - just doubling whatever you're multiplying 11 by.
after 9 - so 10 and beyond there is a trick. Take 15 x 11 - separate the 1 from the 5 and in the middle insert (1 + 5) - so you answer is 1 - (1+5) - 5 or 165. This method works for all two digit numbers, but you sometimes have to carry over into the hundreds column.

Once you know you're 11s then basically all you have left to learn is 12 x 12 - so easy.


There are a lot of workbooks out there - most major newsagents and bookshops carry them. Have a look through to see what works best. Some children get the counting principle (5 multiples of 6 for example) and others don't. There are workbooks which show these groups of multiples as pictures and others which just show the formal multiplication problem - it really is up to you and your DC to decide what looks like fun and helps.


There are some great websites out there for practice:

woodlands junior school:

table trees: has all sorts of games/ worksheets:


Finally if you're concerned about core mathematics calculations skills you may want to consider some form of on-line tutorial for practice. Many here on Mumsnet have sung the praises of Mathswhizz, mathsfactor and mathletics (just search them on google). Basically all will have free trials and it may be worth an explore.


DeWe Mon 04-Feb-13 09:50:32

They don't seem to teach tables in the way we learnt <chants: "One two is two, two twos are four...">
They teach it by "counting in numbers" So they'll learn to count in 2s: 2,,4,6,8,...
They then tend to if you say 7x2 have to count in 2s from 2 to 14 counting which one on their fingers hmm.
I used to get dd2 to recite them in the car, because the skill to hear "7 times 8" and think 56 is actually much more helpful than being able to count in 7s, and it's quicker too.

Mine did 2,3, before 10 and 5.
They also go up to 12 again, like my parents did. I only went up to 10.

jrrtolkien Mon 04-Feb-13 00:49:48

Does she understand what 2x3 is? I.e. 2 groups of 3 items making 6 items in total???
If yes and she knows that 2 x3 is the same as 3 x 2 then it's just a matter of memorising the answers. I don't know anything more effective.than the way you and your parents would have learned this when you we're
Do 2 then 10 then 5 then 3 4 6 7 8 9 and don't move onto the next one until your DD has perfected the previous one
I taught my kids by rote in little bits. Each table took about 20 mins to perfect and they did one per week.
After she has mastered this maths will be easy.again -.for a while!

Viewofthehills Sun 03-Feb-13 22:40:36

DD2 is in year 3 and finished yr 2 on level 3 in Maths SAT. Since then I've been a bit concerned with her lack of progress. She still tends to do addition and subtraction by counting forwards or back on her fingers and is making little progress with timestables. They are now moving onto division and I don't feel she gets it. It has to be said her teacher is not the most organised and I can't see any system to the way he's teaching tables. He throws two large dice each week apparently to test them on tables, but doesn't set them as homework to learn.

I'm going in to talk to him on Thursday. Any advice on the best approach, what to ask and what she should be doing or am expecting too much of her? This teacher managed to make DD1 thoroughly confused about maths for several years when she had him, so I'm keen to prevent this and am happy to do whatever necessary to help at home smile

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