# Tables - which way round?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by Gorsebush, Mar 10, 2019.

1. ### GorsebushNew commenter

I have always taught 3 lots of 4 = 3 x 4 (this is the 4 times table - table is the last number).
This seems to be white rose way also.
However the new MTC is saying best practice is 4 x 3 (4 times table - table is the first number) and MTC is doing it in this order.
Have I been doing it wrong?

2. ### PottypaintpotNew commenter

Funny I’ve just spotted your post as I’ve been wondering the same but the other way round!

Years ago I did a 5 days multiplication and division course under the old numeracy strategy.

They taught it the way you say second. Because, if I list on a shopping list (bananas)x4 you know it’s 4 bananas.
So 3x4 is 3,3,3,3. But this is because we did lots of adding lots of times as early multiplication and division as repeated subtraction. Also because they explained the language of maths in terms of what the signs did within the number sentence.

So initial number, sign affects that number by x amount.
5 (-2)
5 (+4)
3 (repeated 4 times, x4)
12 (divided into chunks of 4)

However, both my own school and my children’s school now do it the way you describe, introduce arrays v early and use the language of lots as you describe.

I’m finding it hard to know what to challenge or query!

4. ### Sir CumferenceOccasional commenter

I teach children that the x sign means 'of', so 3x4 is 3 of 4. This is useful when they come to multiply using fractions, as they will (hopefully!) quickly realise that half x 24 means half of 24.

sam190584 and mrajlong like this.
5. ### FriedEggsNew commenter

Mathematically, the DfE are correct. The usual operation order is multiplicand x multiplier = product. The first number is the unit. The second is the operation. so (3 sheep) x 4 = 12 sheep.
However, many countries find it easier in the early years to teach the reversed way, because it better matches the natural language order where numbers come before nouns. Then 3x4 can be read as '3 groups of 4'.
My preferred teaching sequence is: start as groups of (3xbananas + 2xoranges), move on to commutative (3x4=4x3), then teach that products are interchangable.

6. ### CamokidmommyEstablished commenter

does anyone read 3x4 as 3, 4 times?