Learning the timetables
So, whatís the secret to learning your timestables? Should you learn them by rote or as building blocks. For a long time, I was resistant to children learning them by rote but Iíve since decided that a bit of a rote is not at all bad if children have the building blocks.
Letís start first with the building blocks. If you know your 2′s, 5′s and 10′ then you already know some of the other timestables. Itís important children understand the commutative property of multiplying ie. 2 x 7 = 7 x 2. The key to working out the ones that remain is using 5 or 10 as the building block so letís look at the 6 timestables for instance.
1 x 6 done
2 x 6 done because you know 6 x 2
3 x 6 count up 6, 12, 18
4 x 6 count up 6, 12, 18, 24 or count down from 5 x6. e.g 30 to 24. Itís easier to add so counting up is easier.
Children (and adults who find maths tough) would count up in sixes e.g 7 x 6. 6, 12, 18, 24, 30, 36, 42. There is no need as you know your fives so go straight to 5 x 6 and then go 36, 42.
There are a few things to note.
Some children when faced with 7 x 6 might do 5 x 7 and then add on two sevens. Itís important to stress you are doing the 6 timestable and therefore, you start at 5 x 6. If you use the ITP number dial (type into google) it is clear that the centre number is the timestable you are doing.
With the counting up and down I find it useful if the children put their fingers in front of them and if you ask them quickly to count up and down. Counting from your left thumb across. When you do any that are greater than 5 i.e 8 x 6 start at 30 (5 x6) or 60 (10 x 6). Maybe clenching your first for 30 might be useful.
Another activitity to do reinforce the building blocks is drawing the following
Elicit from the children the 1 x 6, 5 x6 and 10 x 6. Awesome, right them down and then they can work out the other ones using the building blocks i.e 9 x 6 is 10 x 6 take away one as 9 is directly above 10.
So whatís special about each number?
2 Ė itís doubles.
3 Ė not much really
4 Ė it double and double again. Useful for working out 456 x 4 for example
6 Ė itís double and then times by 3. Not particularly useful for learning timestable but for 567 x 6 yes you can use this.
7 Ė not much
8 Ė double, double again and double again
9 Ė if you are doing 3 x 9. Hold up your hands and count 3 fingers (thumb = finger) from left, put this finger down. Count how many fingers to the left = 2 and how many to the right = 7. Ok, itís not great and if you are in a class full of children you are unlikely to want to get your hands out and count across. Another one is well whatís 1 less than 3 = 2 . 2 + what is 9 = 7. You have your answer.
Should you bother with 11, 12, 13 etcÖÖ No, no, no. Why bother when you can partition e.g 18 x 6 = 10 x 6 + 8 x 6.
Right, now to the fun bit Ė the games.
1. Timestables snap. Get them on Amazon. Only goes up to 6.
2. Timestables memory pairs. Use timestables snap cards.
3. ITP Number dial. Fantastic resource. Click on timestables. Let children choose if they want. Give the child 5 seconds for each one e.g 7 x 8. I count down 5,4,3,2,1. Each one they get wrong I get 2 points, each one they get right they get one point.
4. Use your own made cards for snap.
5. Four in a row. Write a bunch of numbers in a grid. Roll two dice, times them together and put a counter on the number you get. 4 in a row, column, diagonal wins.
What about songs?
There are some good ones out there on You Tube and to buy. I canít find the ones I heard on my placement which the kids seemed to totally dig. Anyone know any good CDs please let me know. This is the rote bit, where children sing along with songs. Some children, Iíve taught who already know their timestables have reported that this is how they learnt some of them and theyíve always stuck in their head.
An arguement for rote. If kids know the building blocks but canít say them reasonably quickly this can slow them down. In a class full of their peers, colleagues this might be frustrating. Itís not great either for the 11+ when you need to know them really quickly.
An arguement for building blocks. If you canít remember a particular timestable i.e 6 or 7. These are the hardest. Ask an adult 6 x7 and I bet some get it wrong. In this case, you use the building blocks. 5 x7 and add 7.
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