Why do we need to learn times tables?
Why doesn’t my child know their tables? This is a question that I hear time and time again from parents bringing their children to our tutoring centre for help with maths.
Learning your multiplication tables is vital as they form the basis for all the maths that comes afterwards. It is impossible to approach division and algebra without times table knowledge. So if you can help your child to learn their tables off by heart, you will be doing them a tremendous favour and making every maths class and maths exam they do in the future a whole lot easier.
Learning times tables by rote has gone out of fashion in our Primary schools. These days, teachers are encouraged to find fun and interactive ways of learning tables instead of the more traditional memorising activities which are often sidelined. My experience of teaching times tables has been that some things just have to memorised and if you and your child can put a bit of effort into memorising times tables maths will become a much more enjoyable activity.
So how can you help your child if they are reluctant or seem to be unable to learn their tables off by heart? Here are a few suggestions. Please feel free to add any good ideas you have come across to the comments below.
- Buy a times table CD. There are lots of these on the market The Kip McGrath Times Table CD is available to buy in participating Kip McGrath centres and there are a wide variety of Tables CDs available on amazon.co.uk. These can be listened to in the car. They help with automatic recall – although there is the risk that you will be driven mad!
- Times table computer games. At Kip McGrath we try to make rote learning tables as fun as possible. We have a fantastic computer game in which children have 60 seconds to answer as many times table questions as possible. The children are given personal targets and when they are met, rewards are given. It works very well for most children. The problem comes when I ask them to practice at home. The option of accessing Kip computer programmes at home is thankfully coming very soon with the introduction of a new learning platform called “Insight” in 2012! Our students will be able to continue to meet their targets in between lessons in their own homes. In the mean time I have found Times Tables Games to be a very helpful resource.
- Another fun idea that more visual learners will love is The Multiples. It is a simple idea, but a good one! Each table is presented on a plastic plate, each of which contains a different times table represented by a different character. Children can talk, chant and eat all while learning.
- Another great way I have found to help children learn their times tables is the Football Times Table Board Game from letmelearn.co.uk. This game is perfect for boys or football fans who struggle with rote memory learning. Children do not need to know their times tables off by heart to play and it is perfect for anxious learners who can learn their table facts in a relaxed and fun way. We have had great results with this in our learning centre.
For more tips and tricks on how to help your child learn their times tables visit our blog “How to help your child learn their times tables”.