﻿ timestables
One to one support

Times Tables

I rarely come across pupils who know their times tables. It just doesn’t seem to happen these days. Consequently they will use alternative strategies such as building up to the calculation they need. For example if the sum is 7 x 6, they’ll start with ‘one six is 6’; ‘two sixes are 12’; ‘three sixes are 18’ etc to build to the answer. Not only does it take a great deal of time (the commodity they don’t have when sitting tests or exams) but also they can make mistakes with the series of calculations required.

The method I tutor is to help them memorise the square numbers (i.e. the answers to 3 x 3; 4 x 4; 5 x 5 etc) so:

• 3 x 3 = 9
• 4 x 4 = 16
• 5 x 5 = 25
• 6 x 6 = 36
• 7 x 7 = 49
• 8 x 8 = 64
• 9 x 9 = 81
• 10 x 10 = 100 (although all pupils seem to know this one)
• 11 x 11 = 121
• 12 x 12 = 144

So when calculating 7 x 6, the 6 x 6 = 36 becomes a platform to add another 1 x 6 = 6 to make 36 + 6 = 42.

e.g. 2: 9 x 8 becomes 8 x 8 = 64 add 1 x 8 to make 64 + 8 = 72

e.g. 3: If the calculation is 8 x 9, then understanding that 9 x 8 is the same and use e.g. 2 above.

Just for good measure I get pupils to learn 6 x 8 = 48 by heart, as this requires two jumps from a ‘platform’.

Memory cards or posters in bedrooms are good ways to assist them in learning the key calculations.

So don’t hit your head against a brick wall with teenagers. If they’ve not learnt the times tables by heart yet, they’re probably not going to . Giving them shortcut strategies will help speed and accuracy.