Why do kids take such a long time to learn their multiplication times tables?
I think the main reason that many students have difficulty learning their times tables is that most don’t see or feel the need! The facts just seem like boring, unrelated useless facts. So my first piece of advice is to make it really clear how important and useful the times tables can be, not simply for school work, but for real life.
We are all motivated to persist to learn and practice if we feel a need and see the necessity.
The second suggestion is, to make it fun!
How to make it fun?
I think we need to use a variety of activities to cater for all learning styles and abilities.
Use games, songs, grid patterns, repetition, mnemonics and tips.
These seem obvious, but not to children, in my experience.
- Many students need to be told that, when multiplying, the order of the numbers doesn’t matter. So if they know the answer for 5 X 8, they will also know 8 X 5.
- Two times table is doubling
- Five times follow the pattern 5, 0, 5, 0
- When multiplying an even number by 6, the answer will end with that same number. So 6 X 4 = 24 6 X 8 = 48 6 X 2 = 12
- The numbers in the products of the 9 X tables add to nine. 18, (1+8=9) 27, 36, 45,
- For 9 X your hands can help too. For 9 X 5, hold up all your fingers except the fifth finger, and count 4 on one hand and 5 on the other, so answer is 45.
- 10 X put a zero on the number, eg 10 X 3 = 30 10 X 6 = 60
- 11 X repeat the number 11 X 4 = 44 11 X 7 = 77 This works up to 11 X 9 then from 11 X 10 to 11 X 18, you write the total of the two numbers in the middle, so 11 X 17 = 187 because 1+7=8
- 12 X tables: if students understand that the order of the numbers is irrelevant, they’ll know most of these answers already, as this is usually the last tabled to be memorised.
I have many games and activities for you to just print and use.
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