Gemma-Rose (8) wants to learn her times tables. She knows how to work out all the multiplications the long way, but recently, she has come to see the advantage of learning them by heart.
“But how am I going to learn them, Mum?” she asked with a sigh.
“You know your 2, 5, 9 and 10 times tables,” I pointed out. “How did you learn those?”
“I just remember them.”
“You need to go over and over the others until you remember those too.” Then I added, “Games are a good way of learning times tables. I’ll see if I can find you some.”
So I went searching and I found a whole page of online interactive maths games,on the Woodlands Junior School website, which can be used for practising times tables.
I’ve noticed that if Gemma-Rose is given enough time she can work out most things. However, as soon as the clock starts ticking, her brain seems to freeze. She gets anxious about producing the correct answer in a certain time period, and often fails. If there were no clock, she’d probably find the answer in a reasonable amount of time without any problem.
I haven’t looked at all the times tables games on the Woodlands Junior School site, but I did notice one that was untimed: the Moon Maths game. Perhaps this is a good place for Gemma-Rose to start.
I am very relaxed about Gemma-Rose learning her times tables. There is no hurry. She could continue looking them up, or work them out the long way, or even use a calculator.
But seeing a use for memorised times tables will give her motivation to learn them, and maybe some fun games will make that task easier and enjoyable. I have no doubt that she will memorise them eventually.