How to teach … times tables

The Guardian Teacher Network has published some great resources and ideas to help both teachers and parents assist times table learning…

One of the network’s star resource providers, maths teacher Mel Muldowney, explains: “Students coming to secondary without knowing their times tables often think they can’t do what they are learning in class. They might sit in class thinking they can’t do Pythagoras’ Theorem as they are not getting the right answer when multiplying, say, seven times seven – but it’s not the new work they aren’t grasping. What is letting them down is their basic numeracy, and specifically their times tables. It is really important that teachers explore why students are struggling with new work and be really explicit that it isn’t the new topics they can’t grasp, but the basic skills they need to practise.” Thanks to Mel for sharing her Moshi Monsters-inspired times tables top trumps, which can be used by primary pupils as well as secondary to grasp times tables.

The multiplication fortune teller is a fun variation of the chatter boxes school children make out of squares of paper – but rather than predicting who you are in love with or how many babies you are going to have, this one helps with learning times tables – just print and fold and get practising.

Thanks to key stage 1 teacher Des Hegarty for these mixed multiplication worksheets, comprising missing number sentences. These are ideal for a mental maths test to assess what pupils know.

Here is some clever, ready-to-print times tables settler activity and, what’s more, no marking is required – students work out the solutions to 20 questions and cross out their 20 answers on the grid. The remaining five numbers of the grid are added to find the target number. If they have the correct number then their work is correct – and there are even four different versions to prevent copying. Specific times tables get the same treatment. Find worksheets for the nine times tableeightseven,sixfivefour and three.

An empowering online activity is Know by heart, which helps pupils to practise speedy recall of the two, five and 10 times table and makes a start on three and four. Then move onto Division facts, where students discover there really was a point to all this and find out the wonderful mathematical things they can do with their two and 10 times tables learning.

Maths teacher Dorian Kelly has shared these catchy times tables songs, we have hip-hop five times tables in audio and video and the fantastic reggae two times table in audio and video.

See even more times tables resources at: How to teach … times tables

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