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You may have realised by now that I am a bit obsessed with making sure you know your times tables confidently ready for September. You need to know all the times tables from 2 – 12, forwards, backwards and all mixed up.

Many of you have set yourself a target to secure and polish your times tables over the summer holiday, so here’s some help to make it as easy as possible! Spend time learning them well and you will reap the benefits in future.

The key thing to remember when trying to crack your times tables is that different methods work for different people. Have a go at some of the strategies below, find one that helps and then stick with it.

Some tricks and strategies

The 9 times quickie

  1. Hold your hands in front of you with your fingers spread out.
  2.  For 9 X 3 bend your third finger down (for 9 X 4 it would be the fourth finger etc.)
  3. You have 2 fingers in front of the bent finger and 7 after the bent finger.
  4. Thus the answer must be 27.
  5. This technique works for the 9 times tables up to 10.

The 4 times quickie

  1. If you know how to double a number, this one is easy.
  2. Simply, double a number and then double it again!

The 11 times rule #1

  1. To multiply any single digit number by 11, simply write it down twice!
  2. So for example, 11 x 3 is 33, 11 x 4 is 44. Each number is just duplicated.

The 11 times rule #2

  1. Use this strategy for two digit numbers only.
  2. For example, to multiply 11 by 18, jot down 1 and 8 with a space between it. 1 — 8.
  3. Add the 8 and the 1 together, and put that number in the middle: 198

Multiplication grid

Creating your own multiplication grid not only helps you to work your way through the patterns in the numbers, but is also helpful as you start to learn them off by heart. Use a template like the one below to create your own.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12

Deck ’em!

  1. Use a deck of playing cards for a game of Multiplication War.
  2. Initially, you may need a multiplication grid to become quick at the answers.
  3. Flip over the cards as though you are playing Snap.
  4. The first one to say the fact based on the cards turned over (a four and a five = Say “20”) gets the cards.
  5. The person to get all of the cards wins!
  6. You will probably find learning facts much more quickly when playing this game on a regular basis. Learning should be fun!

Seeing patterns

  1. Use a multiplication grid.
  2. Look carefully at all of the patterns, especially when the numbers correspond with the facts e.g., 7X8 and 8X7 = 56
  3. Practice the ‘fast adding’ which is what multiplication is.
  4. When you can count by 3s, 4s, 5s 6s, etc. you will automatically know your multiplication tables.

Using music (my favourite method!)

I have no doubt many of you know your favourite pop songs off by heart! Why not use those skills to help you learn your times tables. There are some great times tables tracks available on YouTube (ok they are a bit cheesy, but it works!)

These CDs are also worth a try:

  • Tables Tunes by Learning Through Music
  • Professor Mathmo and the Voyage to the Times Tables 

Other resources

Carol Vorderman has two good books with lots of advice and tips:

  • Times Tables Made Easy
  • Times Tables Book

These websites have some fun and effective games:

Good luck and don’t give up. I know you can do it!

Miss Harrison

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