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Maths homework help please

(71 Posts)
Ginny42 Thu 19-Jan-17 21:55:17

My DGS has difficulties remembering his x tables. Asked to reel them off and he can do, but the teacher gives them 100 mixed x tables questions and he struggles.

Any bright ideas please? My DD has found some songs which they're learning at home together and she's hoping the different tunes will trigger the answers.

Thought I'd try gransnetters for some tried and tested strategies. Grateful for any help.

hildajenniJ Thu 19-Jan-17 22:32:25

If anyone has any ideas I'd be grateful too. My DGD age 10 has similar difficulties. She's doing long multiplication, and is struggling.

daphnedill Fri 20-Jan-17 00:50:34

I expect you'll find something if you Google. The most difficult one is the 7 x table. The one that is least successfully answered in quickfire tests is 7 x 8.

Has your DGS been taught 'tricks' for 5 x table, such as adding a nought and halving, or the 11 x table. My children are much quicker at tables than I am, because they were taught all sorts of these 'tricks' (and because their brains are more agile). If they were here, I'd ask them how they do it.

As I wrote, the 7 x table is the hardest and probably just needs to be drilled over and over again.

daphnedill Fri 20-Jan-17 00:55:53

Make sure the 10 x table is rock solid. Then it can be used as a base for 9 x and 11 x.


8 x 9 = 8 x 10 - 8

8 x 10 = 80

80 - 8 = 72

The answer to anything mulyiplied by 9 can be checked, because the digits should add up to 9.

eg 7 + 2 = 9

ninathenana Fri 20-Jan-17 07:31:17

Daphne I'm rubbish at remembering x tables. However, one that always sticks in my mind is 7x8=56 😀
My strategy which may help the children is to either turn the figures around as in 8x7 the answer dosen't spring to mind but 7x8 I know or if it's one I can't remember I go to one near that I can and mentally work from so e.g.
8x8 =64 I know
9x8 = 64+8
I hope that makes sense.

gettingonabit Fri 20-Jan-17 07:38:41

daphne I never knew that about the 9x table!

GrannieBabi Fri 20-Jan-17 07:49:08

Nine times table: Hold fingers up on both hands. 3 x9, put down finger number 3 answer is 2 (fingers to the left of the one that is down) and 7 on the right ...3x9 = 27. 8x9, hold down finger number 8 there are 7 to the left 2 to the right 8 x9 = 72 etc etc. Works for all the numbers in 9 times table up to 10x9.

NfkDumpling Fri 20-Jan-17 07:50:39

My DGD has learned a method at school of counting the 9x on her fingers but I don't see the point as the only 9x you need to learn is 9x9. All the rest are learned as you go up the tables 8x9 is the same as 9x8 so you already know it from learning the 8x table.

My father also primed me by taking all the picture cards from a pack and making me add up all the rest. Once or twice every day. The shapes are there to help to start with. This meant that if asked for say 7x7 and I knew that 6x7 are 42 it took no time at all to add another 7 on.

Nelliemoser Fri 20-Jan-17 08:49:10

Well I used to know my tables but that was 60 yrs ago.

daphnedill Fri 20-Jan-17 09:05:22

It's great if you're the kind of person who can remember tables easily, Nfk, but some children can't. Even when they do, they can't apply them when they're all mixed up. Some of these tricks are good for times when the memory fails.

daphnedill Fri 20-Jan-17 09:09:38

11 x table is easy up to 99, then:

10 x 11 (easy anyway), but:

1=0 = 1

Write 1*1*0

11 x 11

1+1 = 2

Write 1*2*1

12 x 11

1+2 = 3

Write 1*3*2

daphnedill Fri 20-Jan-17 09:10:54

Ooops! The asterisks should have made the middle digits bold.

Ignore the asterisks. I was trying to show that the middle digit is the sum of the two outside ones.

daphnedill Fri 20-Jan-17 09:11:49

Also...should have been 1+0 = 1

Think it's too early for this hmm

yggdrasil Fri 20-Jan-17 09:19:45

Learning tables by rote is useful, if you can do it. Does the child actually understand that multiplication is only a shortcut to repeated addition? If you are trying to learn it as 'a thing to do' it is very hard, but if you know WHY it works it is so much easier.

Lillie Fri 20-Jan-17 09:21:41

Kids love all those tricks!! I used to pretend I didn't know the short cuts and they enjoyed showing me.

I would say another thing to make clear is the progression of numbers in times tables, i.e. explain that the number is growing by it's own value each time. I know that's not much help with the quick fire answers, but it does give the children an idea how the number has grown and where the answer might lie.

As for songs, Ginny, our daughter knew every word of all the Boyzone hits, but couldn't sing her tables!!??

Lillie Fri 20-Jan-17 09:22:29

crossed post yggdrasil!!

M0nica Fri 20-Jan-17 09:51:55

Why not practice random table tests at home rather than reciting tables. That way you can help him by showing him ways of quick calculating (like some of the tricks mentioned on this thread).

Also he makes sure he understands what he is learning. get him to build tables by physically manhandling objects, like Lego bricks into sets of tables, see how they link 2 and 4, 3 and 6 etc.

harrigran Fri 20-Jan-17 10:55:28

GC's school do not consider times tables to be important. Elder GD started off well with her maths but then started to lag behind, the school just gave her easier books rather than address the problem. DS arranged a private tutor and she is doing well now, just needed someone to explain to her on a one to one basis.
We used to ask GD random times tables and the seven times was always a problem, youngest got so used to hearing the question seven times seven that she used to shout "forty nine grandma"

goldengirl Fri 20-Jan-17 11:45:48

9x can be done on your fingers.
Hold up 10 fingers and put 1 thumb down. 1x9=9

Raise your thumb and put down just your 2nd finger; your thumb = 1 and the other side of the 2nd finger =8 Answer: 18

Put down your middle finger [3] and you get 2 on one side and 7 left = 27 etc

Doesn't do 11 or 12 of course unless you use your toes!

My primary school headteacher taught me that as a means of encouragement!

Ginny42 Fri 20-Jan-17 13:33:57

OMG gg I'm all fingers and thumbs! Thank you all so much for the suggestions which I will pass on to my DD.

Since my OP I've spent some time looking for raps and songs written for teaching x tables. A Google search will bring some up. I thought this Rock around the Clock hilarious.

I've found one or two good games, e.g.

Some schools have excellent stuff too. I found Maths Zone on this award winning site excellent. No doubt there are others.

Thanks again for the help. I knew GN would have some ideas! I hope my links help others.

trisher Fri 20-Jan-17 14:07:10

Ginny42 just one word of warning, raps, songs and chanting tables are all very well but they will not compensate if your GS has problems in his basic understanding of multiplication. He will get the homework right because he will remember the appropriate section of the rap/song, but his later work in maths will be affected. I speak as a teacher and as someone who learned their tables dutifully and did well in primary school but who struggled at secondary level. Why? Because I thought the Times Tables were like some magic spell and you just had to chant the right bit. (I know I was an imaginative child!) It wasn't until I trained as a primary teacher that I realised what was missing and learned that children need to learn about multiplication as repeated addition and become skilled in the manipulation of numbers
I would also encourage him to use number facts he already knows to answer some of the questions. For example 7x8, does he know what 7x4 is?well 8 is double 4. Using facts he knows to work out the answers will encourage him to find ways of working out problems in future and serve him better than relying on chanting his tables.

NfkDumpling Fri 20-Jan-17 22:46:42

Goldengirl - that's the finger thing DGD1 explained to me! I just can't get the hang of it though as 9x is easy to work out from the 10x. It's the 8x I have problems with and have to turn it round to remember it. I only know 8x8 and9x8!

Both my DGDs are being taught to count in 3s or however many. 3, 6, 9, etc. But not how many 3s or 4s they're counting. Then expect them to know their tables when asked. It'll probably come right in the end!

Jalima Fri 20-Jan-17 22:57:43

DD taught me the finger thing!
You could try the random times table questions at home until he gets used to them.

It is good to know times tables but being able to use reasoning for mathematics problems is essential too.

daphnedill Sat 21-Jan-17 01:33:47

I agree, Jalima. It's a bit like learning verbs in a foreign language. It's all very well being able to chant them, but the learner has to know how/when to use them.

BlueBelle Sat 21-Jan-17 06:26:34

When I was at school we simply recited them every morning for the first five minutes I ve never forgotten them and can still go through them now at 72,
I notice nowadays or certainly at the primary school my grandkids were at they did recite just the numbers like 2 4 6 8 or 3 6 9 etc whilst we used to say ..once 2 is 2, 2 2 s are 4, 3 2s are 6 etc which makes more sense to me