Over the weekend I received two emails asking me how I taught my daughter her times tables. I started writing my response and realized that what I wanted to say was a lot longer that a quick email answer so I thought I would try to put it down in a post instead. This is just the way we did it and what worked for us.
Before we started with any of the times tables my daughter learnt how to count in 2’s, 5’s and 10’s. We made sure that she was very comfortable with this before we moved on (and I am so glad we spent our time on this first). Because once she had the basic skip counting down the 2 times, 5 times and 10 times came very easily for her. (Twinkl have some great free to download Number posters where the skip counting numbers are inside the numbers – we had these up all over the house.)
When we were looking at the 2 times at the very beginning we spent some time talking about what multiplication is. We did lots of repetitive addition (ie 2+2+2 is the same as saying 3×2) and exercises were we spoke about groups (eg 2 x 4 = two groups of 4 apples). When we looked at the groupings we used all sorts of different manipulative (snap cubes, beads, our fish counters – anything that was available).
We moved onto the 3 times and 4 times doing the same exercises. But by the time we got to the 8 times she started battling to remember them. Until one day we got her to work it out for herself (why it took me so long to do this I do not know). She wrote out the 8 times table up to the point she knew – 5 x 8 = 40 then she came to 6 times 8 and she was stuck. So she added 8 to 40 and got 48. Then 7 time 8 again we got her to add 8 to the previous total 48+8 = 56 and we continued doing this all the way to 12 times 8.
Okay so it probably sounds really simple and I am kicking myself that we did not do this earlier but for her it was the simple trick that worked. Once she sat down and worked out the totals by herself she remembered the answers and more importantly she knew a quick way of working out an answer when she was not sure.
We did the exact same thing for the 6 and 7 times tables (and this time I took some photos).
And we have ALSO played lots of games with her (like our bean bag throwing game) and we have made learning aids (like our multiple flowers) – I am a firm believer of trying to make Maths fun and interactive and I am also a firm believer that repetition is key but we do try very hard to make that repetition as enjoyable as we can.
Because I am often asked about the Maths manipulative that we use here are some links- for times table and division my daughter seems to like using these Learning Resources Snap Cubes (Set of 100). And the Times table cards are the ones from Twinkl that we have used A LOT – links for all of these cards are in my bean bag throwing game post.
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