7 Mar 2013

How to Help with Four, Six and Eight Times Tables Age 7-10

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1. Get hold of a number grid like the one below (or above). 2x, 3x, 5x and 10x are fairly simple, so I'll deal with the trickier ones here. The best order to tackle them in is:
6x
4x
8x
Click to go to 9x table. I'll post on 7x table later.

2. You're now going to 'test' your child, gently in a way that seems random - but isn't. Keep your voice calm and emphasise you want them to give you the answer slowly. Signs of stress: they tense up, start shaking or breathing too fast. Emphasise that it's not a test. Pause, or stop.

4. Ask 'What's 2 x 6? then '3 x 6?' then '10 x 6?' then '5 x 6?' This is a good way to start because they already know the 2, 3, 5 and 10x tables.

5. Next, ask 'what's 6 x 2?' (again), 'what's 6 x 4?, '6 x 8?' They should be able to do it though they might not be able to work out why. If they get stuck on 4 x 6, say: '2 x 6 was 12, so what's double 12?'
6 x 2 = 12
6 x 4 = 24
6 x 8 = 48
- Ask them if they notice a pattern. (The answer doubles each time).
e.g.
4 x 2 =8
4 x 4 = 16         8 x 2 = 16
4 x 8 = 32         8 x 4 = 32
                         8 x 8 = 64

6. After a break, teach them 9x (anything). Get a ruler and put it just above 10x on the grid (below) so they can see:

10x   10  20  30  40  50  60  70  80  90  100 

Ask them whether they understand 10x. They should say yes. Now move the ruler up, so they can see 9x as well:
1x      1   2    3    4    5    6    7    8   9   10
 ...
 9x     9  18  27  36  45  54  63  72  81   99
10x  10  20  30  40  50  60  70  80  90  100

Ask them if they notice anything. What's the difference between 9x and 10x? How could they work out in their head? (9x6) is the same as (10x6) - (1x6) = 60 - 6 = 54.

You can also point out that in the 9x table, both numbers always add up to 9*.
18 > 1+8=9
27 > 2+7=9
36 > 3+6=9
45 > 4+5=9  etc.
*as far as 9x10.
So if they want to find 9 x 6, they know the answer isn't 60, so it's fifty something: 5-, and because the two digits must add up to 9, they know it must be 54 because 5+4=9.

8. Last but not least is 7x6. If they can do 6x6 and 8x6, they should know the answer's not 36, or 48 so it must be 42. If not, take a look at the 7x table. Coming soon...

9. Gentle repeat testing is the key to learning and making it stick. But don't make it feel like a test. Let them look at the number grid again to help them. It isn't cheating. It's how we learn!

10. Re-test every few days, even for a few weeks or months (on and off). Spot test them when you're in the car or cooking, but make sure older siblings don't compete and end up squashing the younger one's confidence. Explain to the older sibling that they ought to be multiplying 1/4 x 1/6*, not 4x6! Let them take turns. No shouting out of turn or they skip a go.
*1/4 x 1/6 = 1/24; 1/4 x 1/8 = 1/32; 1/4 x 1/10 = 1/40 etc.