Learning Times Tables
Learning times tables can be a challenge for children, as there are multiple sequences to learn, from 1 up until 12.
Children start learning times tables in Key Stage 1. Times tables are really important to learn as they are the building blocks of maths; they make division, adding and fractions easier.
Knowing your times tables will come in handy for exams, like GCSEs, SATs and 11+, especially the non-calculator exams!
Here are some ways to make learning times tables that little bit easier:
- Colour code each times tables to make memorising them easier. Why not try matching up the times tables in the same colours that overlap, for example, in the 2 times tables 2 x 8 = 16, in the 8 times tables 8 x 2 = 16. These can both be in red. Learning just one variation, like 3 x 4 = 12, cuts the workload in half, when the equation is flipped it’s the same outcome: 4 x 3 = 12.
Make a times tables grid
- Create a 13 x 13 grid. Put a multiplication symbol in the left corner. Then write numbers 1 to 12 in the left top and bottom columns. You can practice times tables by filling in the squares.
- Alternatively, you can print out a completed grid and display it somewhere visible.
Start off small
- Start off learning the 2 times tables and work your way up.
- This will make it easier learning the bigger ones, once a general pattern is established.
- For example, 2 x 4 = 8, and 4 x 2 = 8. The 2 times tables can be doubled in the 4 times tables.
Make flash cards
- Make times tables flash cards, which can be taken with you everywhere! You can also colour code these.
- Constant repetition and being tested on them will make it easier for the information to be absorbed.
Find what works for you
- Find a learning style that works for you. Some people learn best through constant repetition to retain information, others prefer writing down or reciting information aloud.
Find different patterns
- Try and identify patterns in each time table, to make it easier to learn. The 9 times tables follow a pattern: 9, 18, 27, 36, 45… The units decrease each time as the times tables increase.
- For the 5 times tables, you can simply half 10 times tables, for example, 10 x 4 = 40, double 4 is 8, so 5 x 8 = 40.
- The 7 times tables are the hardest as 7 is a prime number, so the times tables don’t follow a pattern. Knowing that 7 x 7 = 49 makes it simpler, as you can work your way up or down the times tables from this.
Learning times tables is a skill for life. It increases ability and confidence with maths in future, as we use times tables throughout school and into adulthood, too!
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