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Tables - which way round?

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

  1. Gorsebush

    Gorsebush New 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. Pottypaintpot

    Pottypaintpot New 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!
  3. pencho

    pencho New commenter

  4. Sir Cumference

    Sir Cumference Occasional 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. FriedEggs

    FriedEggs New 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.
    In many ways this matches other operations. 4+2=6 can be read as 'start with 4, add 2'.
    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. Camokidmommy

    Camokidmommy Established commenter

    does anyone read 3x4 as 3, 4 times?
  7. grumbleweed

    grumbleweed Lead commenter

    I can understand the 4 X 3 being 4, 3 times, but I'd still naturally think 4 lots of 3. In the same way I'd write my shopping list 4x banana rather than banana x 4, as this is typically the way recipes are written.
  8. Gorsebush

    Gorsebush New commenter

    I suppose it has to be a whole school policy so children aren't confused moving between years and ensuring they understand that it is commutative as soon as possible. But then schools needs to be consistent...

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