Multiplication tables - make it easy and fun to learn your times tables
Everyone needs to know their times tables!
Learn your tables fast! Multiplication is an important skill, and your tables are just as important for everyday life as they are for maths at school!
Whether you want to practise your tables yourself, or help your children learn them, here are my top tips and links for essential multiplication:
Practising times tables...
The most reliable way to learn your multiplication tables is to practice, practice, practice - there's no easy way out.
Children enjoy counting from a very young age, so why not try counting up in times tables? Particularly at primary age, this is a great way to learn tables and become familiar with number sequences.
Games to play:
Try rolling two dice (ten sided would work best, I guess, but regular six sided will work just fine) and see who can multiply them together first, or write some numbers on a piece of paper and take turns to roll - whoever gets one of the numbers first, and works it out correctly, gets to cross it off in their colour.
- Games: Multiplication.com
Free online multiplication games - great for helping kids get the practice they need.
- Practice: www.mrnussbaum.com
Multiplication games and practice activities
- Games: Teaching Tables
UK site with more fun games to help students remember their tables
- Advice: Maths is Fun
Some helpful advice on learning your tables
- Games: BBC Skillswise
Times tables games from the BBC's basic skills pages
What if I don't know all my tables? Top tips for "cheating":
For harder multiplications, try to break the calculation into chunks in your head. For example, the seven times table can be made much easier if you already know your twos and fives - which most people learn first!
For example, 7 x 6 is 5 x 6 plus 2 x 6 - fairly obviously making seven lots of six in total, but breaking it down like this can make it much easier to work out. Five sixes are thirty, two sixes are twelve, so seven sixes must be forty two! I use this method a lot, as a maths teacher, because every time a student asks what the answer is you can come straight back with a way to work it out!
Alternatively, you could approach 7 x 6 by working out 7 x 3 first. If you know that three sevens are twenty one, it becomes fairly easy to double it up to get forty two. This works particularly well for the four and eight times table, again relying heavily on the fact that almost everyone knows their twos.
Swap the numbers
There are plenty of people who don't realise that multiplications can be swapped round. Instead of trying to do 7 x 4 by counting up in sevens, switch it round to 4 x 7 (mentally) and count up in fours instead - if you find it easier.
The famous nine times table cheat
Many students find the nines hard - so cheat! Simply use your fingers, for example to find six nines:
Hold your hands out, palms facing you and fingers pointing up. For six nines, simply fold down your sixth finger and count the rest. Each one before is a "ten", each one after is a "unit" - so in this case, 6 x 9 would be 54 because there are five fingers before, and four fingers after. Easy!