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Times tables

(11 Posts)
Pikkewyn Fri 07-Nov-14 11:01:31

DD is in yr 2 ( a very young summer baby) and they are learning tables (by rote - grrrr) but things are just not clicking for DD. We have tried songs, smarties, drawing, dancing, singing, worksheets, games and she still has no clue! DD2 on the other hand is 4 and now knows her 2, 5, 10 and 3 times tables! We can write them out, put lego/smarties/pictures on each number, count out the answers in groups of 2 and 20 minuteslate she looks at me like a rabbit in headlights when I ask 'what is 3 x 2?

How can we help her? School has suggested waiting until December before an intervention but I want it sorted sooner to give DD the best chance. She has just had her reading age assessed at 12, her handwriting has taken 6 months of 1 to 1 sessions to be legible, she is enthusiastic and loves school but this tables thing is making her cry on a daily basis.

MistletoeBUTNOwine Fri 07-Nov-14 11:04:59

I'd lay off completely... But I home educate so that's not very helpful for you sad
Does she understand 3+3? May have to just to 3x2 as 3+3, 4x2 as 4+4+4+4 etc?

katalex Fri 07-Nov-14 11:33:27

I've had the same trouble with both of my children, particularly y5 dd. We've tried listening to Percy Parker and writing them out repeatedly but it wouldn't stick in their heads. Every time I tested them (random order), they could only tell me the first few in the sequence. I found some times tables flash cards at, which I have used with both of them every evening and it's working really well. Within a week, they now know both the 3 and 4 times tables and dd knows the 7 times table. They even enjoy trying to beat each other and be the first to answer the question. Maybe worth a try.

Pikkewyn Fri 07-Nov-14 11:44:55

Milstletoe - I have told school that she will not be doing the weekly test and they need to let her have a break for a bit.

Katalex - will have a look at those and try in a few weeks.

PastSellByDate Fri 07-Nov-14 11:49:06


Can your DD count by 2s/ 5s/ 10s?

If so then they actually know these times tables - they just don't realise it.

Counting by 3s may be more tricky - but again - try and work on that. This is showing my age - but these US educational adverts from the 1970s (yes the US government paid to educate children on multipication tables & grammar back in the day during Saturday cartoons - and we kids loved Schoolhouse Rock & would eagerly organise our Saturday around seeing the new one). By the way BBC 3 borrowed the music from 3 is a magic number from this.....

Once they can do these 4 (counting by 2s, 3s, 5s and tens) you're winning.

The next step is to ensure they understand x 2 is doubling.

then you can learn another 4 table just by understanding doubling:

x4 (double x 2 table facts - so 4 x 8 is the same as 2 x 8 = 16 and double 16 gives you 32).

x6 (double x3 table facts - so 4 x 6 is the same as 2 x 6 = 12 and double 12 gives you 24).

x8 (double x4 table facts or double x 2 table facts and double again)

x12 (double x 6 table facts or double x3 tables facts and double again)


so after that you know x2, x3, x4, x5, x6, x8, x10 and x12.

School's tend to gloss over it - so worthwhile ensuring they understand anything x 0 = 0. 9,999 x 0 = 0. and anything x 1 is itself. so 9,999 x 1 = 9,999.


and that gives you x0 - x6, x8, x10 and x12.


let's ignore 7 for the moment and play with x9 and x11, which both have lovely patterns.

1 x 9 = 09
2 x 9 = 18
3 x 9 = 27
4 x 9 = 36
5 x 9 = 45
6 x 9 = 54
7 x 9 = 63
8 x 9 = 72
9 x 9 = 81

so there's a lovely pattern where the first number is always one less than the multiple of 9 and the second number is simply that whatever number plus the first number makes 9.

so for example - 7 x 9 - has to start with 6 (one less than 7). So what + 6 = 9 - well 3 (so the second number is 3). Knowing that you know that 7 x 9 = 63.

(you can check you're right by the way by knowing that all the digits should add up to 9 if the number is in the 9s times table). So for example 11 x 9 = 99. 9 + 9 = 18 and 1 + 8 = 9.

Now for 10 x 9 to 12 x 9:

10 x 9 (you should already know is 90)

11 x 9 (is just 9 more than 10 x 9 so 90 + 9) = 99

and you should already know 12 x 9 (from 9 x 12 in 12s table) - which is 108 (or can be thought of as (10 x 9)+ (2 x 9)= (90 + 18) = 108.


11 is just fun and straightforward to x 9 - just write the multiple 2 times.

1 x 11 = 11
2 x 11 = 22
3 x 11 = 33
9 x 11 = 34

again you should know that 10 x 11 = 110

but from 10 to 99 x 11 there's a trick -

for two digit multiples of 11 separate first and second number and in the middle you put the sum of the two numbers:

so 14 x 11 = 1 - (1 + 4) - 4 = 154

you may have to carry if the middle sum is = to or > 10 so for example:

38 x 11 = 3 - (3 + 8) - 8 = 3 - (11) - 8 = (3 + 1) - 1 - 8 = 418


So that leaves 7 but in fact you know all your 7 times table facts already except 7 x 7 from your 0 - 6 and your 8 - 12 tables work. There's no trick to learning 7 x 7 = 49 except I find it easier to remember that 7 x 7 is a swine which does of course rhyme with 49.


Once your DC 'gets' times tables they may have them but be a bit slow - so maybe know 7 x 6 = 42 but might have to work up from a secure fact like 5 x 7 = 35 and then add 7 on to slowly work out 6 x 7 = 42.

The next step is building up speed - tons of free games out there.

Woodlands Junior School Maths zone:

multiplication dot come:

and we found Timez attack - which tests your child and starts from where they're at is brilliant - there's a free two platform version or you can pay for more elaborate platforms. You're cast as a young ogre and have to work through a maze (dungeon or castle) solving multiplication problems which are presented as both multiple additions and as traditional vertical maths problems. Every now and then you're quizzed by ogres and at the end of a level a giant ogre comes out to quiz you. DDs both found it a bit scary - but their speed of recall really improved thanks to this and they never viewed playing this as 'practicing times tables'. Link here:


Finally don't rule out traditional games:

play times table SNAP with ordinary deck of cards - choose your table - say x4 and then write it down on a post-it. Ordinary deck of 52 cards - Ace = 1, 2 - 9 as marked, Jack = 10, Queen = 11 and King = 12. Shuffle and place face down. Flip card (say it's 8) first to work out 4 x 8 = 32 and shout out correct answer wins the card. The winner is the one with most cards at the end of the game.

We started off gently and then progressively got more competitive as DDs improved.


can play Snakes and ladders as times tables. Use two dice. write times table on post-it. If numbers >5 may be best to play board forward and backwards - becuase of big rolls. with x9 and up - we played board 4x.


What I will say is it is worth having this battle and putting the time in on this because sound multiplication facts underpins so much in maths.


happybubblebrain Fri 07-Nov-14 11:52:31

I think children are only expected to know x2, x5 and x10 by the end of year 2. Just make sure she knows those first then work on the others next year. I think trying to learn too many at once is confusing.

PastSellByDate Fri 07-Nov-14 11:59:00

happy - you are correct x2, x3, x5 and x10 are statutory requirements for Year 2 ( - new national curriculum programme of maths page 11)

and Pikkewyn's DD is in YEAR 2.

RunAwayHome Fri 07-Nov-14 12:41:30

understanding what 'times' actually means is far more important than learning the tables to start with, so I'd concentrate on that first.

then when she needs to get them done automatically, you could revisit the songs, games, etc., maybe a visual method like the Times Table Clock app would be different from the ones you've already tried (some children find too much auditory memory a problem), or a rhyming method like times-table rhyme, or the Percy Parker songs, plus lots of practice with things like Squeebles to just get the actual numbers embedded.

But not til she really understands what it means, and it sounds like if she is still struggling with 3x2, then she doesn't really know what 'times' means. Can she do doubles automatically, and if so, does she realise that is the two times table?

Can she tell the minutes on a clock automatically, and does she realise that is the five times table?

Can she work with units and tens (cubes/rods) and realise that then she is counting the rods and saying 3 tens make 30, that that is also multiplying by 10? etc.

Pikkewyn Fri 07-Nov-14 13:39:53

She know it means groups of so 3 x 2 is 3 groups of 2. I assume that is what they have been taught at school. She can count comfortably in 2, 5 and 10 and this week has just started working answers out by holding out fingers and then counting in those mutilples. So for 3 x 2 she holds out 3 fingers and counts each as 2. Which I am seeing as progress but school don't agree.

She knows about hundreds, tens and units and can tell the time on her teaching watch which has 5, 10, 15 etc written outside the normal numbers. I never though to use that as a way to show her 5 x tables.

Pikkewyn Fri 07-Nov-14 14:16:53

Sorry meant 3 x 2 mean 2 groups of 3. My brain is fried with sleep deprivation!

RunAwayHome Fri 07-Nov-14 14:28:02

I think that's definitely progress. If she is getting the idea of repeated addition, and then starting to count in multiples, then she just needs to decide to go one step further and know that she can just remember the answers.

It might help to reinforce that 3 groups of 2 is the same as 2 groups of 3, and she can get the answer whichever way she finds easier, again with physical objects until she finds it easy. Hopefully she will just be able to see the answer even without counting for such small numbers, and that will reinforce the idea that you don't always have to count it out.

You might see if she can imagine two groups of three (or three groups of two) and mentally count them, too.

But after that, it's just practice doing it a lot, so that there is motivation and incentive for her to find a faster way of doing it, and that will eventually mean not counting through the table, but just getting to the right answer - much like they learn to do when first learning the doubles.

I think sticking to 2, 5, and 10 is good for the moment, until she is really solid with both the idea of multiplying/repeated adding, and with the idea that you can just learn the answers.

Later on you could introduce things that are naturally groups in threes or fours, etc, and get her to count them (e.g., a pattern of beads with three of each colour or something), and she might naturally start to realise that counting by 3s is faster and less likely to lose track of where she is.

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