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What is the best way to get times tables into kids that don't really like maths or does it not matter?

(90 Posts)
Kazooblue Sun 24-Mar-13 13:53:46

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?

TheFallenMadonna Sun 24-Mar-13 14:00:34

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.

Jux Sun 24-Mar-13 14:14:54

Here, Timez Attack

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!)

mrz Sun 24-Mar-13 14:27:33

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.

LeMousquetaireAnonyme Sun 24-Mar-13 14:35:00

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>

Schmedz Sun 24-Mar-13 23:05:15

My children enjoyed a CD of times tables songs from Fun Learning store in kingston. Sure there are loads on the Internet!

Startail Sun 24-Mar-13 23:09:48

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.)

Beehatch Sun 24-Mar-13 23:14:49

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.

MrsShrek3 Sun 24-Mar-13 23:17:14

Percy Parker grin
oh and play Splat with a hundred square.

Mashabell Mon 25-Mar-13 07:55:18

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.

Good luck.

elenotfun Mon 25-Mar-13 08:00:21

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.

Sugarbeach Mon 25-Mar-13 10:27:35

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.

LauraSmurf Mon 25-Mar-13 13:01:15

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.

meala Mon 25-Mar-13 13:12:27


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!!

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Mon 25-Mar-13 13:16:07

Oh I'm joining this thread as DD1 is having the same trouble!

daytoday Mon 25-Mar-13 13:17:04

Ooh meala - thats good a good tip about the 6 times tables!

BlueChampagne Mon 25-Mar-13 13:40:59

Lots of general maths ideas here

Kazooblue Mon 25-Mar-13 13:45:25

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

Kazooblue Mon 25-Mar-13 13:47:08

On testing 6s last night think we've cracked it.

4s and 8s next <weak yay> confused

Laquila Mon 25-Mar-13 13:49:47

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 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??")

olgaga Mon 25-Mar-13 13:52:02

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 grin - it worked! She'd do two or three a day no problem.

peacefuleasyfeeling Mon 25-Mar-13 14:11:15

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 grin.

IsabelleRinging Mon 25-Mar-13 14:11:18

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.

haveapear Mon 25-Mar-13 14:18:50

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 .

WhatKindofFool Mon 25-Mar-13 14:21:36

The Squeebles app for ipad etc. It is fabulous.

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