Why learning times tables is important.
Knowing times tables is very important for children for many reasons. Perhaps the most obvious is that it saves time when calculating.
If a child has to count up in fives and count on fingers to know how many lots have been counted (i.e. 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30) it is going to take them a whole lot longer than knowing the answer ‘off by heart’. Knowing times tables up to at least 10 times 10 is an incredibly powerful tool and really does make maths easier.
Just as important is that the knowledge of times tables is needed to work out any written multiplication or division, whether the long or short method is used. Divide 39 by 7 for example. If we know that 5 times 7 is 35 then it is easy to see that 39 divided by 7 is 5 remainder 4. If we don’t know that 5 x 7 is 35 then the problem gets a whole lot harder. Not knowing these facts is a major reason why many children and indeed adults think that they are no good at maths and why division is one of the main problem areas in teaching maths.
The introduction to algebra also needs a good knowledge of times tables.
C = 6. What is 7C + 3? Easy if you know that 6 x 7 is 42. Just add another 3 to make 45.
What can I do to help?
Times tables will be taught at school, but every child works at a different rate. Some find learning facts by rote very easy, others really struggle. But there is a very limited time in school and much of the real work in learning tables will probably be done at home. Good old Mum and Dad!
How can they be learned? There are many different ways. Some believe that singing them really helps, others recite them, almost like a poem, whilst many children like to time themselves to see how quickly a table can be completed. Another option is a quick fire computer game and there is no reason why our maths games cannot be used. (You do need the Flash Player although we are hoping to bring out some new games in the near future which will not use the Flash Player.) All seem to have one thing in common – repetition. Even now in some classrooms the whole class recite a table; that was the way I first learnt them many, many years ago!
So what is the best thing to do in the short time available? Well, a great start will be to browse through the extensive collection of highly targeted worksheets that we have on the times tables. You will find each table written out in words, plenty of practice on individual tables as well as further work on mixed tables and even plenty of fun activities, all designed to help your child learn the times tables. All these pages can be found in the multiplication category of the year groups that the National Curriculum state that they should be learnt in:
Year 2: 2x, 5x and 10x tables
Year 3: 3x, 4x and 8x tables
Year 4: 6x, 7x, 9x, 11x and 12x tables.
But they can also be found as a complete collection in our category: