## Times Tables Tools

*Why should students learn times tables?*

Once students have a solid understanding of how multiplication works, they need to start improving their recall of multiplication facts. This helps them in Grades 5 and 6 when they will be expected to work out algorithms (multiplying in columns). It’s also amazing how mastering number facts can build a student's confidence in his or her mathematical abilities.

*Which tables should they learn and in what order?*

Before learning tables by rote, students need to comprehend what multiplication means. In the classroom, we illustrate it as groups. For example, we don't simply say "3 times 4 equals 12", we show how that works by illustrating how 3 groups of 4 objects makes 12 objects. This is particularly important with young students who can mix up 3 + 4 with 3 x 4. We also let them explore how 3 groups of 4 have the same product (answer) as 4 groups of 3 (the commutative properties of multiplication). Another important step is for students to understand how they can reach a multiplication answer by skip counting. For example, they can find the product of 5x7 by skip counting (counting up) by fives a total of seven times - 5,10,15,20,25,30,35. After a thorough understanding of multiplication has been established, students can start on memorisation.

When it comes to learning times tables, Grade 3 students should start with the easier to remember facts, such as x2, x10, x5, x3, x4 while Grade 4 students can continue with x6, x7, x8, x9, x11 and x12. (According to the curriculum, they are only required to learn to x10 but some schools, like Sassy, prefer to extend students by teaching to x12.)

Here are some tools and ideas to help students remember their multiplication facts.

**Remember, focus on one set of tables at a time, but don’t forget to revise the ones that have been learnt to help with memory retention.**

Posters

It’s a great idea to ask students to write their tables out. The act of doing it helps them commit it to memory and they can use the poster to see the patterns in the numbers and answers which will help them with recall. For example, the products of x5 tables end in 0 or 5 alternately. When 5 is multiplied by an even number, the product will end in 0, when it is multiplied by an odd number, it will end in 5. For more tips about multiplication patterns, go to http://www.dr-mikes-math-games-for-kids.com/times-tables-tips.html.

When making a poster, make sure the numbers are large and easy to read. (You can download a poster template that has faint boxes to assist them with their layout.) Ask your child to write in grey lead to begin with, check their answers, then ask them to go over it with a texta. If you have coloured paper, you can get them to write on a white piece of A4 paper, cut around the edges of the white paper to make the edges wavy or jagged, then paste the white paper onto the coloured paper to create a poster.

If you need to print out poster, you can find them at: http://www.math-only-math.com/multiplication-table-chart.html

**Remember to place times tables posters somewhere students will see them frequently.**

Flashcards

It’s easy for students to make their own flashcards. You can download a flashcard template with boxes for them to write on and cut out. Just make sure that the factors are on one side and the product is on the back. (For example, 3 x 5 is on one side and 15 is on the back.)

When a student is first learning their tables, it’s a good idea to keep the flashcards in order. When they become more confident, you can start to mix them up to test their recall.

If you’d like to print out flashcards, there are some available at: http://www.craftscope.com/multiplication-tables-x-12/ (Click the "next" link on the blog to access the different tables.)

Video/Audio Clips

There are many different video clips available on Youtube to help students learn their times tables and it’s worth exploring them to find out which one catches the attention of your child. There is a set of songs by SockheadSmith at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLgqP5CYNJPWyTewfirDre0qGGe7pTcQ6_ that have a different type of music genre (eg blues, rock) for each times table. Times Table Toons https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=egF_N4SdbT0 are also popular and can be downloaded for mp3 players.

Games

There are plenty of drills that children can do to learn tables, but not every child will be excited about doing them. Games using cards or dice, as well as online games, are a good way of engaging students and encouraging them to remember their tables.

War

This is a classic maths game that can be played by 2 or more people. In this game, the Ace is equivalent to 1, the Jack is equivalent to 0, the Queen is equivalent to 11 and the King is equivalent to 12. Players divide the deck into two equal piles and place them face down. Players turn the top card on each pile over at the same time and multiply their value in their heads. The first person to shout out the correct answer wins the cards. If it is a draw, the card goes back to the bottom of the pile. The person with the most cards at the end wins the war. If students are focusing on a particular times table, they pull out the relevant card and place it face up. For example, if they are learning x6 tables they will place a 6 card face up. All the other cards are placed face down next to it. When the top card is turned over, the first student to say the correct product aloud, keeps the card.

Challenge

Another popular game that needs at least 3 people. Two players stand facing each other 5 metres apart. A third player calls out times tables. The first person to say the correct answer moves forward one step (putting on foot directly in front of the other so the heel of one foot touches the toes of the other). The players gradually get closer to one another. Once they are close, the person who gets a correct answer can try and touch the other player (they are allowed to stretch out on the floor to try and touch the other player’s toes). If they touch the player, they win.

Online Games

There are many online games and apps. If your child is focusing on one particular set of tables, you can try:

- multiplication.com - http://www.multiplication.com/learn/game-navigator
- Hit the Button - http://www.topmarks.co.uk/maths-games/hit-the-button
- Hoodamath - http://www.hoodamath.com/games/multiplication.html
- The Timernator - http://www.coolmath.com/games/timernator/multiplication

- Woodland Resources - http://www.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/maths/timestable/interactive.htm (requires Adobe Flash Player)
- fun4thebrain.com - http://www.fun4thebrain.com/mult.html (requires Adobe Flash Player)
- Times Table Game (iPad app)
- Mathracing (iPad app)

If they are revising other tables as well, there are games with a mix of tables:

- multiplication.com - http://www.multiplication.com/learn/game-navigator
- Expedite - http://www.transum.org/Tables/Expedite.asp

Rhymes

If your child is finding it hard to remember a particular equation then putting together a rhyme that has strong visuals can help. You can use the following pattern:

8 and 8 hit the dance floor, 8 x 8 is 64.

6 and 3 visit the queen, 6 x 3 is 18.