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Helping children learn their tables

Friday, 30 May 2014

Some children (and adults!) find it hard to remember multiplication facts, which can be very frustrating after teaching them using counting patterns, number lines, multiplication grids, repeated addition, using facts we know to learn others, games, songs, chants… and every other method that’s out there. 

Regular reinforcement and practice is probably the best approach, so try using 'trios' to help children learn their tables. Children get instant feedback to their answer and it makes the necessary practising fun.

Difficulty remembering multiplication facts isn't just a recent problem - schools haven't suddenly stopped teaching the multiplication facts or saying the 'times tables'.  Previous generations included a large number of individuals who couldn't quickly recall the facts. 

Poor memory retention and lack of quick recall causes a knock-on effect in the way children approach more difficult multiplication problems. You often see children working through a set of tables using their fingers or counting on as they try to solve problems.

'Multiplication Triangles' (or 'Trios') isn’t a new idea, but it certainly works, reinforcing the relationship between multiplication and division. 

Cut out the trio triangles and give a set to children working in pairs.  They take turns to cover up a number with a thumb and ask their partner, 'What’s the hidden number?'

Here’s a sheet of ‘Multiplication Triangles’ for you to download and add to your other resources.

Quick reminder of the new curriculum changes for recall of multiplication facts:

• multiplication up to 12x12 rather than only 10x10

• multiplication tables are introduced earlier, with x8 introduced in Y3 and all tables up to 12x12 by the end of Y4

Take a look at an earlier article on Flip-flops.

They are another useful resource for practising multiplication tables, using hands for x5, cherries for x2. 
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