Are you wondering how to support your child’s maths learning at home? Dennis and Margi Brown are two primary-school trained teachers who developed the tacklingtables method used extensively in UK schools, and have their own maths tuition business in Norfolk.
Here is their advice on how to teach your six-year-old times tables at home during school closures and beyond. To show you, we’ve used Learning Resources Three Bear Family counters, but you can use any counters, from buttons to beans.
Watch the videos here or on Learning Resources’ YouTube channel, and download your free activity book featuring the worksheets in this blog post. Click here to buy the tacklingtables Student Set which is ideal for home learning.
How to help your child understand multiplication tables
So many parents are keen to help their children, especially with maths, but knowing how best to help them can be a real challenge. Thinking about learning times tables for instance, how should we go about teaching them? Is it best to stick to learning them by rote and simply keep chanting them out loud?
Helping your child learn their times tables can seem a daunting task as there appears a lot to learn. Teaching has changed so much over the years, methods favoured once are no longer used so how do we begin?
Learning them ‘off by heart’ by chanting them over and over has some merit but does not help with understanding what’s going on with these numbers or the relationship with the inverse (division – often called sharing).
Scaffolding learning, by using concrete objects, is a useful tool to help visualise what’s going on. This is where we ‘make’ the sum using physical objects. This helps us see immediately that multiplication, or ‘lots of’ is a form of repeated addition.
Do not neglect the 1x table. It’s often assumed children will just know this but demonstrating it will encourage their understanding. By making the sum and then writing the appropriate number sentences, you will help underpin their learning.
Here’s an example of how you could show that using counters. Then work on number sentences to support: 6×1=6 and 6÷1=6.
Begin by using objects to ‘make’ the sum. Make ‘lots of’ 2 to begin with, and group together different amounts. Then support this by writing the corresponding number sentences. (It may be helpful to check with your class teacher as to the terminology they use.)
Show the commutativity by using arrays like we’ve done in this video. Model the appropriate number sentences – so 3 lots of 2 (3×2) is exactly the same as 2 lots of 3 (2×3). Again, use cubes or counters to illustrate this.
The mystery of division, or sharing, can be tackled simultaneously by using the counters to show 6÷2 etc. Again show the counters to illustrate this. By spending time making these sums, you will be laying valuable foundations for your child’s learning and understanding.
Once familiar with the concept of ‘lots of’ and ‘sharing’, then use the tacklingtables cards to accelerate their learning and achieve rapid recall. Initially, pick out the cards that match the sums you have made. We’ve used counters to demonstrate in this illustration. Watch our video below to see how our tacklingtables cards can be used.
Regular playing of the cards will make learning times tables fun and really give your child confidence. The more confident they feel, the more receptive they are to learning and starting to love maths.
We developed tacklingtables to make practising times tables fun. Watch us demonstrate and see how it can build your child’s instant recall and confidence.
Mastering times tables through play-based learning is an engaging way to help children have fun while they develop this important maths skill.
Looking for more ideas on teaching maths at home? You’ll find other free, fun maths printables and activity books here.