Children in Year 2 are expected to know the multiplication facts in the 2x, 5x and 10x tables, and the related vision facts.
Children often start by counting on in 2s, 5s and 10s to find answers, but ultimately, it is important that they know the facts off by heart as this will help them to carry out more complex mental calculations. The ‘old-fashioned’ methods of chanting and repeating the tables are still one of the best ways to learn them, but we also work on learning individual facts out of order, and teach children the division facts as well so they can see the relationship between the two.
By the end of Year 4, the children are expected to know off-by-heart all times tables and related division facts. The best way to learn tables is through practise and repetition, but there are simple games you can play to test how well the tables facts are going in! If you and your child are looking for some new ways to get those tables learnt, try these:
Chant the table being learnt over and over, but using a different silly voice each time. Or take it in turns with a partner to say one fact each, again in a silly voice. Or try singing the tables along with your favourite song!
Look at the way the different digits work in the 9 times table. What happens when we add the digits of each answer?
Challenge: does this continue even past 12 x 9?
Make a multiplication grid. Use squared paper to create a 13 x 13 grid. Across the top row write the numbers 1 to 12, and down the left hand column write the same numbers. Your challenge is to fill in the squares in the middle by multiplying the number at the far left by the number on top. To make an easier version, use numbers 1 to 3 or 1 to 5, depending on the tables being learnt.
There is a multitude of brilliant interactive games and apps to help with learning tables. Search on the internet and see what you can find.
Play tables bingo. Write the multiplication questions on separate pieces of paper and place in a bowl. Make a 4 by 3 square bingo card each and write 9 of the answer numbers onto it. Take it in turns to draw a question out – if the answer’s on your card, cross it off. The winner is the first to cross off all their answers.
Look for patterns in the answers to the different tables. Do any tables have only even answers? Do any share a common digit?
At Beckstone, we also use online programmes to support the children with learning their times tables. We love Times Tables Rockstars.
Times Tables Rock Stars is a carefully sequenced programme of daily times tables practice. The children have access to the program through the website or downloadable app both within the school day and at home. Their progress is recorded and they receive a certificate and badge, which they can keep, once they reach the top 3 levels in a celebratory assembly.
Children can battle each other in classes or try and beat their own score to become Rock Heroes and Rock Legends.
Children from Year 1 upwards also have access to Numbots which focuses on children being able to understand, recall and improve their fluency in mental addition and subtraction, so that they move from counting to calculating.
Sumdog can be played both at home and at school. Teachers set the area with which they wish your child to focus on and this is completed through a choice of different fun and engaging game based learning.
Here’s a handy trick for learning the 9x tables using your fingers. Hold all ten fingers up, palms facing you, then lower the finger relating to the number you are multiplying 9 by – for example, for 2 x 9 you would lower the index finger of your left hand. The fingers to the left of the lowered finger are the tens digit of the answer, the fingers to the right of the lowered digit are the units digit. So 2 x 9 = 18 (one finger to the left, 8 fingers to the right).
Make it real. Look for areas in everyday life where we need to use multiplication skills. For example, ‘everyone wants three potatoes with dinner so how many potatoes do we need to get ready?’
Have a speed challenge – how many questions can you answer correctly in 30 seconds? Try mixing up the tables you know or throwing in some division questions too.
Practise saying the table in different ways, e.g. ‘1 times 3 is 3, 2 times 3 is 6’, or ‘one 3 is 3, two 3s are 6’, or ‘3, 6, 9 etc’.