# Best way to teach Times Tables to Primary.....

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by NQT2004, Oct 22, 2007.

1. ### NQT2004New commenter

...I am getting frustrated by the lack of knowledge of Times Tables that my Year 6 class have.
By this stage they should know them all but don't, obviously this impacts in most areas of maths so I have decided to do something about it.

Now I have also decided to do a Masters and am thinking that I could combine the 2 and do some real research into learning Times Tables.

Wondering what people think are the best ways to teach/learn the facts.
Also if anyone knows what reading material there is on this topic.

2. ### NQT2004New commenter

...I am getting frustrated by the lack of knowledge of Times Tables that my Year 6 class have.
By this stage they should know them all but don't, obviously this impacts in most areas of maths so I have decided to do something about it.

Now I have also decided to do a Masters and am thinking that I could combine the 2 and do some real research into learning Times Tables.

Wondering what people think are the best ways to teach/learn the facts.
Also if anyone knows what reading material there is on this topic.

3. ### Cornwell

Knowing your times tables is very, very useful in secondary school. It means you don't get distracted when subtrating fractions, factorising quadratics, doing prime factorisation etc.
I know many able mathematicians in KS4 who get stumped by, say 7x8.

I don't know what the answer is, but suspect that it might be rote learning. When I ask pupils how they know their tables so well, they mostly reply that their parents made them learn.

I wonder if picking a table a week would help, setting them for homework and having tests and games in class all centred on this week's chosen Table(s)?

4. ### NQT2004New commenter

That's kind of what I was thinking.
I have told my class that they don't need to spend hours hunched over their times tables but just learn 3 facts a night from the times tables that they don't know.
However they have ignored that advice so thinking of putting in extra time in class to ensure they get a sound knowledge of them. I know what you mean about distractions of working out the multiplication sum to be able to solve the actual sum.
It is really hard to teach so many concepts when they don;t know multiplication facts because you can see the panic over that before they even get to the actual work.

5. ### oc7New commenter

I learned mine doing long multiplication

7877 x
778

will help the 7 8s problem no end.

It is in the end still only a variation on the rote learning suggested earlier. It does help them throughout Secondary so stick with it.

Good Luck

P.S I hated long multiplication but I do know my times tables!

6. ### bombaysapphireStar commenter

How useful this is depends on ability but there are useful techniques for working out tables quickly e.g. using fingers for 9x, to find 6xn double 3xn, to find 7xn do 5xn add 2xn.

For the less able this can just be another set of rules to remember though. If you model these and force students to practice regularly then they will be able to get to answers for themselves and, with enough practice will pick up more tables by rote.

7. ### NQT2004New commenter

Thanks for all tips - wondering if anyone has a tried and tested method to get the children to recall any fact.
Most can slowly and with the help of a pencil and paper get to the fact they want but recalling them out of oreder is the tough part.
Even with 2, 10 and 5's - which are the easiest you can still see the fingers going!

8. ### brookes

I think games and competitions encourage speed.
You could make card games for matching sums and answers. You could do multiplication squares, trying to beat each other's times... erm, MyMaths does a good game, it's one of the Grid Games, "Times it out" I think. You could do Multiplication bingo, or just a serious times table test.

9. ### salsamaths

Maybe, in pairs, you could have 10-12 laminated cards, of a nominated times table, with the question on one side and the answer on the other. One person has a stopwatch and the other answers the questions. The guesser has 5 seconds to answer the question. If it is guessed wrong, or after 5 seconds, then the card is put to one side.
After all questions have been attempted, the game is repeated with just the 'problem cards' until no cards have been put to one side.
Swap roles and repeat. It worked for my little boy, but he is the competitive sort. Haven't tried it in a class situation, though.

10. ### logicmaths

give them bookmarkers with the relevant table on; when they know it swap for the next; make them use it in their reading book every day

11. ### mecky

Get them to write out the multiplication square, completing up to 5x5 first. This way, they will learn to associate the times tables with numbers of rows and columns. Anything up to 5x5 they will learn to see at a glance, and eventually see in their mind's eye. Memory can be enhanced by linking it with a meaningful picture. When the first 'quadrant' is secure, the rest can be memorised by chunking and linking.

12. ### sazza53

Hi everyone! Just registered on the site! That's it there is no return!!! I recently spent some time in a Yr 5 class and was pretty shocked to see that some were still using counters to do the 3 times table! As I'm currently studying, forgive me my naivety (regarding the amount of time you don't have!), but I, as was already mentioned, learned through rote learning and at Yr 6 we had a times table test every morning for about 5/10 mins throughout the year up to the 12 timestable. So we were all very good before going to Secondary school. It was literally drilled into us everyday until we learnt. May not be the most imaginative way to teach them but it worked and even now I'm still very good.

13. ### likeglue2

I hate to tell this story, because it's not the way I teach, but...

At primary school (back in the 70s) when I was in Years 5 & 6 we had two or three hours a week with a very scary old woman (our regular teacher was the deputy head at our large school so had some admin time).

The scary old woman used to go round the class, as we are stood up, and ask us a random timestable question - if we didn't answer correctly (immediately) she wasn't exactly sympathetic about it!

It's not a great teaching method, but all of us (including some right muppets) knew our timestables very quickly. I think sometimes there is a place for simply demanding/expecting students to be able to recall facts.

This is not top contradict all I have said on the Bloggsy-goes-nuts thread. Understanding is key, but recall is very important.

Then again...

...when I teach Year 7, I start on the four rules of fractions fairly soon - that improves their recall of the number products significantly!

14. ### BIlljames

I have used these times tables tests for a long while, believing that the standard times table formats can get in the way of memory (and learning multiplication is a different issue to momorising times tables, and needs different teaching methods).

the tests can be completely individulaised, so that each child in the class can practice the table they need, rather than a group. Times can be altered as well, so quick memorisers can do them in 2 mins, slower memories can do them in 4 mins.

The class record sheet helps keep track of who has done what. Finally, they do get very quick to mark and are free!

http://factsinabox.com/index_files/page0007.htm

Bill James

15. ### d_williams

Teach them a variety of multiplication strategies. The appropriate method depending on the numbers used and the degree of accuracy required is so much more important and useful than times tables. I think that?s what we call the numeracy strategy.

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18. ### onelittlevictory

My daughter quite likes the Percy Parker CDs, singing along to her 6 times table

19. ### lofidelityseans

We have eight levels of times tables sheets which students get 5 minutes to complete every Thursday. They must get 100% to move onto the next level. The best score from each week, or the most improved student, gets a certificate in Assembly and a photo on our website.They are certainly very competitive about which level they are on...