What's the best way to learn times tables?(30 Posts)
Does anyone have any advice as to the best way to learn times tables? DD7 is in year 3 but so far she doesn't seem to have done much times tables work at school.
She has a times table book and is showing quite an interest in the times tables, copying them out mostly. As this level of enthusiasm is such a rarity I want to encourage it.
She can count in 2s easily (and 5s and 10s) but couldn't really recite her 2x table in full ie. 1x2=2, 2x2=4 etc. We have worked on that together this week just by chanting it together and doing little quizzes and she has managed well.
I was planning to move on to the 3x table once she is 100% secure with the 2s.
Other than what we are doing is there any other good methods? I think when I learnt it was pure repetition and memorising.
By way of background she has concentration issues (possible ADHD) and is in the lower set for maths. I think there is an issue with her being disinterested in the lessons at school and disengaging rather than actual lack of ability. Others in her class may be doing times tables already but her teacher probably doesn't think she is ready. Rather than her falling further behind I want to help her with these at home especially as this has her focus.
Also, what would be the normal expectations regarding times table knowledge for the end of year 3? When should they know them all?
I remember my Dad buying me a CD of times tables songs. I loved it and it worked a treat!
Pick the tables in order of 'easiness' - so, once you think she's got 2s, do 10s, as that's the easiest, then do 5s as is also pretty easy.
There is no 'best' way as everyone learns differently, but you are right about how much it will help her if she just 'knows' "3, 5s are 15" without having to think about it or work it out.
Throwing out a question at them throughout ordinary times like walking to school, or having a bath or laying the table, is great - they need to get so they just 'know' without thinking.
Some dc like tapes (prob an app these days? ) to sing along to
Some like to write them out
Some like a poster on their wall by their bed so they go over them when trying to get to sleep.
We used to stand up and sing them each morning and evening at breakfast and dinner!
A different one for each morning and evening of the week up to 12 times table, if there was one we found difficult we might do it twice in a day
My dc enjoy squebles app. Also realising that the 'tricky' times tables of 7 8 and 9 only contain 6 new calculations (7×7 7×8 7x9 8x8 8x9 9x9) helps. We also look at the structure of the calculation so 12x4 is the same as 10x4 plus 2x4.
Times tables squares can be useful to spot calculations which they find difficult. So rather than repeating the 6 times table from the start each time if you identify 4x6 as a blind spot then ask it randomly in isolation numerous times throughout the day.
The best way I have ever found to help students learn x tables is a game called clear the pack. Take a pack of playing cards and remove all the picture cards. Explain that ace means 1. Take out a card for the x table you're doing and put it face up e.g 2 for 2x tables. Then deal each card face up one at a time while they recall their times tables e.g. 6x2, 8x2, 2x2. Once they have completed all the cards they have cleared the pack. Once the students get used to the game we time them so they can be a bit competitive with themselves (great for self esteem) even very weak students can knock minutes off their original time and get praise for their progress.
I'm surprised your cd isn't getting any x table homework in year 3 as under the new national curriculum students are expected to know all x tables up to 12x12 by the end of year 4. So well done for taking the initiative and being proactive. Learning tables is one of the most useful building blocks of mathematics and will make learning other concepts such as area, division, fractions ( I could go on and on here) soooooo much easier.
Get one of the CDs or App ( bound to be one) set to music . Look for one that has a little random test at the end. Playing it in the car is a good idea. Years ago I had a group of children with special needs and used a tape and we had cards too to hold up. There was a child with ADHD in the group. By the end of the year they knew them all. These children were functioning about three years behind. We practised for about 10 minutes every lesson and they loved it. It need a lot of work but the were thrilled to find they knew their tables when some of the others in the class didn't. Good luck.
I agree that learning the easy ones first helps. Mainly because they instil confidence to continue. So, 5's 10's and 11's first. I found that one's like 6,7 are tricky and it's repetition that gets there.
Google the 'nine times table finger trick'. That's fun.
Mine put them to songs she already knew (most notably the can-can song for 6x, but in a different language, I'm afraid).
Just to add that my DS is year three, they learn them in this order....2, 3., 4 then 8. They're expected to know x 8 by end of year 3 and to have done 5 and 10 in year two.
They have a weekly test (they Have to do fifty questions in three mins!!!).
I tried a cd which was unbearable mainly due to the American folksy music. Then I tried the DK app which was fairly helpful. Then constant repetition which helped.
DD is in year 2 and she's just starting times tables but she seems to have grasped number bonds pretty well, but 1, 2, 5, 10 and 11 are the ones she finds easy, the rest not so much. I think DS learned with a number grid and by repetition. I certainly learned by repetition 30 years ago. Easier said than done but a number grid might help. You can get posters from places like The Works and both of mine have one on their bedroom wall.
I think it's really hard to just memorise things cold, songs or no. I think best thing is if they can work them out. Then do some game or activity that tests them, and they keep working them out if they don't remember them, till they all stick. Bit like phonics and reading really! They're memorising the facts but together with the reason for them, and if the fact deserts them they can always reconstruct it.
e.g. DS worked out 2s by doubling, 3s by counting up in 3s, 10s are obvious, 5s by counting up in 5s, until he knew those by memory.
Then 4s by doubling twice, 8s by doubling three times or x10 - 2, 9s by x10 -1, 6s by x3 then doubling. Not sure how he does 7s, but there aren't many left once you know the rest.
DS' favourite practice activity at the moment is the free Sumdog app - for anyone that uses it, there's a general maths training mode but you can also change it to just do times tables. (Wasn't immediately obvious to me!)
When my ds was learning them - tapes in the car to sing along to - his sister (who was a pre-schooler at the time) accidentally learned them too, so not everyone finds it hard to remember things from songs catkind
even though I do.
Totally agree that you need to understand what you are actually doing and how you can work out more complicated maths, but just 'knowing them' makes all future maths so much quicker and easier.
Thanks everyone. Some useful ideas there. We'll try them out and see what suits best. As I suspected, the school doesn't seem to be being very proactive on this, so yet another thing we need to practise at home to help her keep up.
Ha BackforGood, now I'm tempted to get times tables songs just for the comedy value of DD knowing tables before she starts school, that's so the sort of thing she would do.
My sister sent me times table cd in my native language when ds was 2.
We played it and he learned the song, so he new times table in my language, but he didn't speak it, so he didn't understand the meaning of it.
But if I asked him 3 x 3 = ? in my language, he would answer 9, back then.
My ds learned table with looking at poster everyday.
Practical things are best for grasping number concepts - bricks, Lego, beads, counters, money, shapes, weights, measuring, cooking.
Do adding, taking away, multiplication (repeated addition), division (sharing), using REAL OBJECTS as just 'numbers' can be too abstract for some children.
Number Bonds of Ten forms the basis of much maths, so try to learn them. Using Lego or something similar, use a LOT of bricks (of just TWO colours, if you have enough) lay them out so the pattern can be seen of one colour INCREASING while the other colour DECREASES. Lay them down, or build up like steps.
ten of one colour none of other
nine of one colour one of other
eight of one colour two of other
seven of one colour three of other
then of course, the sides are equal at 5 and 5; after which the colours 'swap over' as to increasing/decreasing.
To learn TABLES, do them in groups that have a relationship, thus:
x2, x4, x8
x3, x6, x12
5 and 10 are easy
7 and 9 are rather harder.
Starting with TWO times TABLE, I always say: "Imagine the class is lining up in pairs; each child will have a partner, if there is an EVEN number in the class. If one child is left without a partner, then the number is ODD, because an odd one is left out."
Use Lego bricks again, lay them out in a column of 2 wide to learn 2x table. Go half way down the column, and move half the bricks up, so that now the column is 4 bricks wide. That gives the start of 4x table.
Then do similar things with 3x and 6x.
With 5x, try and count in 'fives', and notice the relationship with 'ten' - they will alternate, ending in 5 then 10.
It is important to try and UNDERSTAND the relationships between numbers, and not just learn them 'by rote'.
An inexpensive solar powered calculator (no battery to run out!) can help learn tables by 'repeated addition'. So: enter 2+2 and press = to give 4. KEEP PRESSING = and it should add on 2 each time, giving 2 times table.
There are good web sites, which can be fun to use :
Times tables cd to listen to in the car. Multiplication chart on the back of the loo door (you've got to stare at something) and squeebles app. Both my elder dc went into y3 with times tables perfect.
DD is yr 5 and still learning tables but we are, at long long last, getting there and she is remembering them well. Constant repetition in car for 10 mins every morning, it's taken over a year but we are now nearly there. DD didn't cover tables much in yr 2 or 3, due to a succession of teachers, but has now nearly caught up with "expectations". And have to add that getting called up in assembly for knowing them has really helped her self esteem.
Really solid knowledge of the easier tables helps a lot, particularly if you like spotting patterns. 12 x table is just 10x plus 2x.
Loads of tricks to learn 9x table - the more you practice the tricks, the more you remember the answer automatically without the trick.
Also, you can remember one of the most difficult calculations - 7x8=56 by remembering the 'steps' song 5,6,7,8.
I did it by chanting in the car with my dad. I enjoyed it, partly because he was busy and partly because he was so enthusiastic to be chanting!
I personally think learning by rote is no bad thing as long as you don't push it and make it a chore.
Some things like grammar and French I just had to learn by repetition.
Children should have had lots of practical experience in KS1 and understand that times tables are a "shortcut"
In Y1 children will have counted in 2s, 5s & 10s and in Y2 learnt these tables.
Personally I find putting anything to music makes it more memorable (think of the annoying lyrics you can't get out of your head).
Hit the button is a good game to play for practicing tables especially if your child has attention difficulties. Just Google hit the button. It's on Topmarks site l think
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