# Multiplication Activities?

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by georgiadickson, Feb 20, 2011.

I am training to be a TA and am currently on placement in a P5 (Year 4) class. I am required to plan and implement activities during this placement, and have been asked to take the class for maths this week. All I have been asked to do is something to do with multiplication.I know that most of them know their tables up to 9 but some only know up to 6 so I will need to differentiate.
I'm a bit stuck for ideas, though am thinking of finishing with a times table bingo. Ideally I'd like two group activities: one for the less able, one for the more competent. I have trawled the Internet but don't feel like I've found much that would really work.
Any ideas? They would be greatly, greatly appreciated. Thanks

2. ### Betamale

Make them all stand up behind their chairs in silence and bombard each pupil for 30 seconds on differentiated' questions from the times tables. They get through the 30 seconds they can sit down until the next round
Do 3 rounds in the lesson and those who were left standing in at least 2 rounds stay behind at lunch and fill out multiplication grids until they can become automated in this non mathematical process.
Rinse and Repeat 3-4 times a week (if given the chance again) and you will be able to teach some maths in no time at all

3. ### weebecka

A slightly softer approach is to multiplication at year 5 is to cut rectangles out of centimeter squared paper and mount them onto card with their dimensions clealry shown.
The challenge is to count the squares (single digit times double digit, double digit x double digit for the more able).
Students can count them one by one but they will quickly use shortcuts. You should get them to describe how they are seeing their thinking and gradually scaffold it towards standard methods.
Methods where they see 'more than the rectangle' and take bits off are fine. e.g. for 9x9 they could see 10x10 and take off a 10 and a 9. As are bits where they snip a bit off the rectangle and move it (11x9 - cut the strip of 9 off the top and stick it down the side to make a 10x10 with one bit missing). 5x5 being 1/4 of 100 is a powerful one for them to see.
All of this will strenghen the foundations of their being able to recall multiplication results in difference circumstances.

4. ### TandyNew commenter

Year 4 often enjoy Alphabetables, you could start off with the Alphabetables worksheet from the Emaths resource page, and then get them to make their own up.

5. ### Betamale

...and the exact reason kids no longer know them
The time spent cutting/sticking and trying to control behaviour through edutainment has been one major factor why pupils cannot do basic arithmetic throughout school.
Rote learn numeracy THEN enjoy maths on a solid foundation.
Learning times tables has nothing to do with maths. Its no different to learning a new mobile phone number (which most kids seem to manage). Once these basics are in place you then have a platform to develop understanding of factors, problem solving and the nicer aspect of maths.

6. ### florapost

i would also find the 'soft approach' rather weird for y5 - i might use that with y2 or 3, but by y5 the able children should know how and why multiplication works and should be subject to the betamale hang-em-flog-em-and no-breaks-from-here-till-christmas approach
if the strugglers are still struggling with why 9 x 5 is 45, use grids by all means, but i suggest for them the '9x is one less than 10x' approach is just confusing and a mix of rote learning and games that re-inforce rote learning (maths invaders rocks) are way more to the point

7. ### weebecka

Hmmm, we use activities like this in year 7 with students both to scaffold for harder maths (expansion of quadratic brackets and so on) and because we find students aren't sufficiently flexible and versatile in their thinking about multiplication to efficiently subordinate it so they can focus on harder aspects of the maths they're doing.
But I suppose primaries don't need to think about things like that as they are only bothered with what the students achieve at the end of year 6. The current testing regime couldn't care less about differentiation between students who have been taught to the KS2 test and those who have had an enriched maths experience which has properly prepared them for secondary maths.
But this is the world we live in so hey ho, I back down. Drill 'em and punish 'em if they can't do it. They need to perform for you in high stakes test to get you rated highly in what you do so it's important they can deal with the pressure.
Personally I would still try and make it as much fun as possible.
I like tandy's acivity. Joe Murray has some extended versions of those tandy which I'm sure he'd let you add to the site if you're interested. PM me if you want his email.

8. ### NazardNew commenter

I am not sure most kids can even do this nowadays. Last week a pupil had planned to call his parents after a late activity had finished to ask them to collect him. His phone was out of battery power, so he asked to use the office phone ... and then couldn't remember his own home phone number.
"It's in my phone, so why would I bother to remember it!" Um, for the times when you have spent the whole day texting and have run the battery down? Maybe?

9. ### Betamale

I think you are right. In the disposable society we live in it wouldnt suprise me at all. A lad told me he was going to make it 'big in the city' when he left school (he is not going to gain any GCSEs)
He stated that he would just get the train in everyday when I asked him about transport. Now he thinks it will be about &pound;3 a day on the train (which he worked out to be &pound;20 a week mon-fri) and its about 40 miles which he will do on his moped (that he hasnt got yet) if he misses the train. If that doesnt work out he is going to try and get signed up as a footballer.
I had to go and do some photocopying at this point to avoid a ***? moment
ohhh he too cant multiply single digit numbers under 6
Im glad we agree and I thank you for the positive input of late.

10. ### weebecka

Even in sarcasm I could bring myself to say it was a good idea to make the kids wet themselves with stress. I did try several times in different forms but had to delete it.

11. ### florapost

multiplication isn't flexible: 6 x 7 = 42 and there is no flexibility in that
learning your tables, as sarahsiddons (i think) has pointed out on another thread, is exactly how you subordinate basic multipication to focus on harder aspects of maths - 'if you just know your tables, you can use your brain for the thinking bits' is my regular battle cry
the more my kids know their tables, the more they can indeed enjoy an enhanced maths experience
however, given the way this thread is lurching, i shall now switch to tes beta

12. ### DMNew commenter

I've been using it all week. I like the multiquote feature but still no post editing or LaTeX. Still at least I can pick which posts I read (unless someone else quotes indiscriminately!).

13. ### weebecka

'course it is. If you don't think so you're not listening to the variety of ways your students are seeing and constructing a particular results.
Of course if you're obsessed with the idea that the only way to do multiplication is to learn all the answers as rote then you wouldn't, would you.

14. ### florapost

and it still won't stitch the background colour to pink!

15. ### DMNew commenter

Why would you (or anyone) want a pink background? Are you nine years old?

16. ### florapost

so the reflection off the computer will enhance my sallow and aging complexion!

17. ### anon2799New commenter

I love Beta, I switched over a week ago and I'm not going back.

18. ### siddons_sara

As Florapost suggested earlier, having 10 by 10 squares for each times table and having the tables coloured can help children to spot patterns. Some also learn by nearness, e.g. knowing that 6 x 6 = 36 allows them to know 6 x 7 = 42 and fill in gaps that they don't know.

In principle though, if all that they gained from primary schools was an excellent grasp of basic calculation and tables to 10 then I'd be happy, I could take it from there. Lack of knowledge of tables absolutely ruins their ability to progress in so many other areas. By and large, I'd say any that have not got tables by the time they are age 11 never get them.

19. ### googolplexOccasional commenter

I agree. It would be interesting to correlate their knowledge of tables with outcomes at KS4. I'd wager tables would be just as effective a predictor of outcomes as those confounded KS2 tests (and a whole lot cheaper to practise for and administer). After all, whatever they might like to think, the government is still basically using Free School Meals as a basis for comparing schools.

20. ### TandyNew commenter

The kids will have interesting conversations about the task, where they mathematically justify.

Obviously every lesson is different, but from the many times that I have used this sheet with Year 4 and Year 5, the conversations will be something like this... two kids talking together:
"there is only the 1times, 3times, 5times and 9times tables here"
"I know which one is the 1times. It is the second one, the one with all the D's"
"How do you know?"
"Because the other letter stays the same. It says that FxD=F. So when I times it by D it doesn't change. So it must be 1"
"What is F?"
"I don't know. You can't tell"

"I know what the first one is. It is the five times table. Because the second digit is always V or Q. The five times table goes 5, 10, 15, 20, 25. So it's always 0 or 5. There are only two numbers"
"RxV=V, so R must be 1"
"That means XxV=15"
"What times 5 is 15? 3. So X must be 3."
...they then go on to decode the other letters in a similar way.

"That only leaves the 3x and 9x tables."
"I know which is the 3x."
"How?"
"Because it starts 3, 6, 9 and the last code has O, J, P by the other one only has I"
"O must be 9. It says PxP=O. So 3x3=9. So O must be 9"

And so on...