Are multiplication tables important?

A good foundation
Once a child has mastered the times tables, they gain a foundation for the rest of their school careers and beyond (given the fact that most university degrees require Maths as a minimum requirement). Children that don’t have a solid grasp of their tables may find other learning areas difficult to grasp and lead to possible back logs.

Why not just use a calculator?
While a calculator is a great tool to use in school, if your child becomes depended on it to do their work, they will end up relying on it as a crutch even for the most simple of sums. If your child knows their times tables it is possible that they could figure it even faster than with the calculator.  Relying on a calculator can also result in errors in tests and exams. Explaining this to your child will help them better understand the importance of mastering their tables.

How you can help the children in your class or your own child master this:

  • Make sure they understand WHY they need to know their tables and how it will benefit them in future.
  • Show interest in maths/multiplication tables yourself – tell the children how mastering them has helped you.
  • Involve the children in the goal setting process of what they want to master by when.  
  • Use a chart to monitor their progress – reward them when they reach milestones.
  • Provide encouragement along the way and show them the short cuts you use to remember them.  

Try this beginners’ activity with them…

  1. Hand out 1x and 10x tables – read them out loud with the children
  2. After a quick spot test, if they successful catch on, give them the 2 x table
  3. Show him or her that they don’t have to learn 1x2 and 10x2 as it is the same as the 1x and 10x tables
  4. Stick these three times table sheets up on the wall, ensure they practice reading these out to themselves.
  5. Test them once more by covering the answers

You might also want to read more about Maths and Maths Literacy.