Tag Archives: multiplication

Do your maths lessons need a superhero (or two)?

The Mighty Fun Activities for Practising Times Tables series uses superheroes to motivate primary school children to practise all the skills needed to solve multiplication, division and word-based times table problems. Superheroes appeal to even the most reluctant of learners and instil a positive and competitive attitude towards learning. Your pupils will be eager and motivated to want to learn and practise their times tables.

Mighty Fun Activities for Practising Times Tables, Book 3 - Brilliant Publications

Mighty Fun Activities for Practising Times Tables, Book 3

Mighty Fun Activities for Practising Times Tables, Book 2 - Brilliant Publications

Mighty Fun Activities for Practising Times Tables, Book 2

Mighty Fun Activities for Practising Times Tables, Book 1 - Brilliant Publications

Mighty Fun Activities for Practising Times Tables, Book 1

There are three books in the Mighty Fun Activities for Practising Times Tables series:
Book 1: 2, 5 and 10 times tables
Book 2: 3, 4, 6 and 8 times tables
Book 3: 7, 9, 11 and 12 times tables

The books contain reproducible sheets and are designed to be used as flexible teaching aids, which teachers can dip in and out of in any order to support the learning of any times table. They work equally well as stand alone 5 to 20 minute lesson reinforcements or as regular times table learning.

We recognise that all children learn in different ways and that they need to have opportunities to apply their knowledge and skills. For each times table there is a mixture of practical activities to develop their understanding and written activities to consolidate their knowledge.

The mixed times table sheets at the back of the book allow children to apply the skills gained in learning individual tables, working out for themselves which multiple facts and methods they need to use.


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Filed under Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, Mathematics

Who developed the grid method of multiplication?

Few people disagree on the importance of being able to multiply large numbers together. However, there is much debate on the best way to do so.

Some might argue that, now that calculators are so readily available, children don’t need to learn to do this on paper (or mentally).

On the other hand, the 2014 National Curriculum advocates a move back to ‘formal written methods’.

What people might not realise, however, is that the grid method, much maligned by some as a modern trendy method that ought to be stamped out, actually has its routes in the 13th century.  The lattice method of multiplication was introduced by Fibonacci. His 1202 treatise Liber Abacii (Book of the Abacus) was the most sophisticated work on arithmetic and number theory written in medieval Europe.

His lattice method of multiplication is incredibly simple.  Here’s how to multiply 534 x 42.

First write the numbers on your grid:


Then multiply each pair of digits. Put the tens number on top of the diagonal line and the ones number below it:


Then total the diagonals (adding in carried over numbers if necessary):


The answer to 534 x 42 = 22,428

Another great way resource for teaching children mathematics is a simple deck of cards. Deck Ahoy! contains over 100 activities and games to teach primary maths skills with a deck of cards. Topics covered are not only the main operations – addition, subtraction, multiplication and division – but also fractions, statistics, time, ratios, squares and cubes and graphs.

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How useful are times tables tests?

In the drive to raise standards, the National Curriculum in England has now said that children need to know their times tables to x12 by the end of Year 4 (two years earlier than in the previous National Curriculum). This, not surprisingly, has led to more testing to ensure that children can tell you that 7×8=56 and 6×9=54.

9780857476296 The Mighty Multiples Times Table Challenge Brilliant Publications

The Mighty Multiples Times Table Challenge

Professor Boaler from Stanford University recently caused a stir by saying that children found times table tests stressful and that they should be banned. This immediately caused a furore of people accusing her being against raising standards in education.

But this is misunderstanding what Prof Boaler’s research has shown (see attached article). She does not say that children shouldn’t learn their times tables. She isn’t saying that they aren’t important and fundamental building block for future study of mathematics.

What Prof Boaler is arguing against are the tests themselves. By over-emphasising times tables tests, we develop in children the wrong attitude towards maths with a “narrow and impoverished” focus on getting the right answers fast.

Prof Boaler continues: “We need to free our young people from the crippling idea that they must not fail, that they cannot mess up, that only some students can be good at maths and that success should be easy and not involve effort.”

Maths is so much more than that, and an essential life skill. Yes, we need to know if children have learned their times tables. But before we start grilling children on their times tables, we need to ensure that they’ve grasped the concept of multiplication (and its relationship to addition and division). They need to be shown concrete and abstract examples of multiplication in a variety of interesting ways. They need to be given opportunities to apply multiplication to real life situations.


That is what I love about The Mighty Multiples Times Table Challenge. It provides a fresh approach to learning times tables and will help all children to feel that they can do maths and – most importantly – that maths is fun.

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Multiplying balloons: free maths teaching resource

All children are different. My son’s maths improved when he started visualizing the number problems as money – he knew what it looked like and how 1p related to 10p, 20p etc.

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Filed under Key Stage, Key Stage 1, Mathematics, Teaching Ideas