By Caroline Hood
So are Times Tables difficult to learn? Fun even? No! – Never! You all cry, or at least, not when I was at school! But these days learning is different at school and at home. And I’d really like to share with you, and hopefully demystify the illusion of, times tables being boring or difficult, with a few apps that I’ve used a lot to help children learn their tables.
So here we go.
First up – the app I love for learning your times tables, is Squeebles Times Tables 2 – this is because it has a built in feature for ‘learning’ your tables, which others don’t have. Most other apps provide visually interesting practise opportunities, which don’t get me wrong, is good, and more on that later, but in the first instance we need to learn them. In Squeebles Times Tables 2 they have an option called ‘Step -by-Step Training’. It introduces your child to the questions one at a time and builds up their memory of the sequence, it also gives them a Brain Break after every mini test of the questions introduced so far, in the form of a quick game. This has been a great way for kids to learn to tackle a new times table.
On to the best app for practising your tables, with three levels of difficulty, is DK 10 Minutes a Day Times Tables. It has a cool racing car theme, with races against another racing car and against the clock. It test your child’s knowledge of the times table sequence. The next level tests the times table out of sequence and the final level has missing numbers, whereby there is a need for the reciprocal understanding of the division skills. Always remind your child that 2×5=10 and 5×2=10, then 10 divided by 2 =5 and 10 divided by 5=2.
In addition, when children are learning a new times table – I write, or have the child write, the sequence on a set of blank cards. This can be laid in front of the child to help with recall of the sequence, and as their confidence grows, I have them turn over the numbers within the sequence they find easy to remember. Just leaving the more tricky ones.
Finally, the app I find children like the best when they have mastered a times table is Number Run.
It’s a fast paced, fun and visually appealing app, that sets the heart racing and develops an inner need to get all the questions right. One tip I share with children, when they first play, is the Pause Button. I do this, as this gives a little thinking time, and a breather sometimes to get used to the pace of the game. It doesn’t take long for the children to build up their stamina and speed in order to achieve the reward of getting them all right and not needing to use the pause button.
What order is best to learn our Times Tables?
First up 10x, (links with money) 2x (links with even numbers) and then 5 x (links with time).
Next 3x and 4x children often notice the fun sequence of 11x around this time.
Remember to share the division facts of these times tables at this time too – with a link to fractions of a number 1/5 of 30 is the same as 30 divided by 5.
After, try 6x and 8x (these are double the 3x and 4 x tables – remember to show the connection)
The last ones are usually 9x, 12x and 7x (not necessarily in this order.)
Alternatively, 12x can be included when you show the doubling connection of the 3x to the 6x tables.
Finally, Maths is all about real life and making connections with it, as well as other maths they already know. Keep on connecting!