How to help a child to remember their times-tables
There are a lot of methods you could use to tutor students to memorise multiplication. Students may find it more enjoyable to use games or to race against the clock. You can find dozens of tricks and tips online, there are countless web pages dedicated to times tables. The big picture idea is that you need to find what works for your student.
Show your student that each answer repeats, so, technically, they only have to learn half of the chart (score!). 3×7 is the same as 7×3.
Work with simple ‘number families’ – so help the student to understand 0, 1, 2 and 3 times tables before they learn 4 to 7, and then finally 8 to 12. A smaller portion to rehearse makes the task easier for the student and gives them more time to concentrate on individual parts. Usually when the student has broad goals to memorise everything straight away they end up remembering nothing.
Here are a few quick tricks which could help the student to understand their times tables:
- For TWO times tables
- For FOUR times tables
- Double the number, and double it again
- For FIVE times tables
- Add a zero to the end of the number (effectively multiplying by 10) and then halve the number
- For NINE times tables
- 1. Hold your hands in front of you with your fingers spread out.
2. For 9 X 3 bend your third finger down. (9 X 4 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.
- For ELEVEN times tables
- 1. Take any number to 10 and multiply it by 11.
2. Multiply 11 by 3 to get 33, multiply 11 by 4 to get 44. Each number to 10 is just duplicated.
- For number larger than 10:
- 1. Use this strategy for two digit numbers only.
- 2. Multiply 11 by 18. Jot down 1 and 8 with a space between it. 1 –8.
- 3. Add the 8 and the 1 and put that number in the middle: 198
Another idea which could make it easier, get the student to go through drills of the ‘number family’ that they’re learning a few times on the day of their tuition. Speak to the parents and see if they’re happy to ensure he does a drill-set before breakfast, and before going to sleep. The students will get faster at memorising the set times tables.
Try and make it some fun also, this can be done by a lot of different games. You could make Flash Cards, with random questions on them and the answers on the back, and they can test themselves throughout the week, and have to know them all by next lesson. You could go through a chart each week.
Another fun game involves a deck of cards; you remove all the royal cards, then divide the deck into two piles and then it becomes like snap, when the cards are turned over, the student yells out the answer as fast as possible. Making learning fun is a great way for the students to learn! Also praise them for their hard work also so they’re more likely to do more work themselves.