As Term 1 draws to a close (not that I’m counting!), the one thing I continually notice holding my students back from success is their lack of knowledge and easy recall of their times tables.

My Year 7s have been working on Prime Factors, Lowest Common Multiples and Highest Common Factors. They understand the concepts but get the questions wrong because their inability to recall their times tables easily is a major obstacle.

My Year 8s have been learning important foundation algebraic skills – simplifying, expanding and factorising expressions. I’m proud of how hard they’ve worked to learn and consolidate these skills. But again, what hampers their success and progress is their times tables which are important for each and all of these algebraic skills.

My Year 10 Extension class has been working on much higher order algebraic skills but many marks have been lost in a recent test due to only a satisfactory working knowledge, rather than a highly proficient knowledge of times tables and factors.

Time and again the ability to work with times tables easily and efficiently is a necessary prerequisite for success at school. As I walk around helping my students with mistakes they’ve made in their working, the majority of the time there is a calculation error involving multiplication or division.

The more you can do when your children are young to help them develop proficiency, the more you enhance their future progress and success.

Here are a few resources to help you get started at home.

Bubble Bugs

A cute interactive game that allows you to work on all times tables or specific times tables to improve your skills and speed.

Timernator

This is a great one to help build up speed and accuracy with immediate feedback given on progress. Your child can practise both multiplication and division in a race against the clock.

Learn Your Tables

A great bright resource that can be used in a variety of different ways. My favourite is the Drag Multiple option where your child can match multiplication sums with their answers, giving them exposure to the all important concept of factors and multiples.

We’re working on the creation of our own Times Table resource. We’d love to hear about your child’s struggles and what sorts of things you’d like to see in our resource to help your child improve their skill and efficiency.

Photo credit: Canadian Pacific / Foter / CC BY-NC