The Littlesheeps are learning times tables. Middle Littlesheep can rote count 2,4,6,8 or 5,10,15,20 or 10,20,30,40,50 etc but he is now also beginning to understand the concept behind the counting in 2s, 5s and 10s.

So – 1 x 2 is 2, 2 x 2 is 4, 3 x 2 is 6, 4 x 2 is 8 etc or 2, 4, 6, 8 or some other method? Which is the best way for children to learn their multiplication tables? I think the answer is use as many different methods as possible (and have fun).

Some children will find it really easy to memorise the rote chant of the times tables but it is important to ensure that they understand the underlying maths fact that 4×2 = 2+2+2+2 and that it is the same as 2×4.

Some of the other things we have been doing (apart from the chanting!)

- pairing socks: counting the pairs / individual socks – a pair = 2 socks, 2 pairs = 4 socks, 3 pairs = 6 socks etc
- sorting for three children: the number in each bowl x 3 is the number altogether
- counting eggs in egg boxes (multiples of six)
- finding patterns on a number square
- learning tricks for example 4×4 is the same as (2×4)x2 or if you can’t remember five sixes it’s the same as six fives

Please add a comment let us know any ideas you have!

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When my son was learning his times tables, I enlisted the help of a bunch of his favorite toys (at the time, they were small Thomas the Tank Engine trains, passenger cars, and freight cars). I’d group them together so he could visualize items being multiplied to help him grasp the concept. I also wrote a small interactive computer app that used the same concept and featured his favorite sports stars. Incorporating his favorite things into the teaching process helped him stay interested in the math lesson.

Have a good day!

Valerie

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