Building times tables skills
In June 2020, the new Year 4 multiplication tables check will become statutory. Each child will need to take a short online test to make sure their times tables knowledge is at the expected level. Children will be asked to answer 25 questions on times tables from 2 to 12. They are given six seconds per question, with three seconds rest between each question, so the test should last less than five minutes. It is expected that questions about the 6, 7, 8, 9, and 12 times tables are likely to come up most often, as these are the hardest for most children to learn.
So why is it important to have rapid recall of times tables?
▪ Multiplication is a building block for other maths concepts, e.g. fractions, algebra, area, etc.
▪ It saves vital time and ‘frees up’ working memory when solving maths problems.
▪ It teaches and reinforces the meaning of zero. When the multiplicand and / or the multiplier is zero, the product is zero.
▪ Once you know multiplication, division should come pretty easily, e.g. 5 x 4 = 20 so 20 ÷ 5 = 4, or 20 ÷ 4 = 5.
▪ Times tables are used in real life situations, e.g. adapt a recipe designed for 4 people into one for 12 people.
▪ Quick and accurate recall of number facts develops fluency, one of the three aims of the National Curriculum.
The expected progression in learning times tables is broadly as follows:
By the end of Reception:
▪Before multiplication children need to understand addition; the concept of combining groups of objects, e.g. ‘If one pair of welly boots is 2, then 4 pairs = ?’; ‘If one hand has 5 fingers how many fingers on two hands?’.
▪To solve real life problems including doubling, halving and sharing through practical activities and play.
By the end of Year 1:
▪Count in multiples (groups) of 2s, 5s and 10s.
▪Recall & use all doubles to 10 and corresponding halves.
By the end of Year 2:
▪Recall instantly and use multiplication & division facts for 2, 5 & 10 multiplication tables, e.g. 2 x 3 = 6 & 6 ÷ 2 = 3.
▪Recognise odd and even numbers.
▪Use commutative law (multiplication can be done in any order, but division cannot), e.g. 2 x 3 = 3 x 2.
▪Use x, ÷ and = signs.
By the end of Year 3:
▪Recall and use x & ÷ facts for 3, 4 and 8 times tables.
By the end of Year 4:
▪Recall x & ÷ facts for all times tables up to 12 × 12.
▪Use place value to work out associated facts, e.g. if 5 x 2 = 10, then 0.05 x 2 = 0.1; 0.5 x 2 = 1; 5 x 2 = 10; 50 x 2 = 100; 500 x 2 = 1000; etc.
In Year 5 and Year 6:
▪Revise x & ÷ facts for all times tables up to 12 × 12.
▪(Common) multiples, (common) factors, factor pairs, prime numbers, prime factors, composite (non- prime) numbers, square numbers and cube numbers.
Below are links for 2 games that are fun ways to practise their quick recall skills: