So now we’re fine with addition and subtraction. Our number bonds are just fine and we can answer simple questions mentally – without having to count on our fingers. Yaaay!!

The times tables start off quite easy – counting in twos and threes isn’t so bad. The fives and tens are simple and straightforward too. How can we easily tackle the others without making too many mistakes?

First, we need to see that the times tables really is a shortened form of addition:

2 x 7 = 2+2+2+2+2+2+2 = 14 ( two, seven times) which is the same as

7 x 2 = 7 + 7 = 14 (seven, two times)

If we had all the time in the world, we could get through this accurately. But we don’t. so, the big question is… “How do we learn them all?”

Here are some tricks to help:

Below is a grid showing numbers up to 10 x 10.

x |
1 |
2 |
3 |
4 |
5 |
6 |
7 |
8 |
9 |
10 |

1 |
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 |

2 |
2 | 4 | 6 | 8 | 10 | 12 | 14 | 16 | 18 | 20 |

3 |
3 | 6 | 9 | 12 | 15 | 18 | 21 | 24 | 27 | 30 |

4 |
4 | 8 | 12 | 16 | 20 | 24 | 28 | 32 | 36 | 40 |

5 |
5 | 10 | 15 | 20 | 25 | 30 | 35 | 40 | 45 | 50 |

6 |
6 | 12 | 18 | 24 | 30 | 36 | 42 | 48 | 54 | 60 |

7 |
7 | 14 | 21 | 28 | 35 | 42 | 49 | 56 | 63 | 70 |

8 |
8 | 16 | 24 | 32 | 40 | 48 | 56 | 64 | 72 | 80 |

9 |
9 | 18 | 27 | 36 | 45 | 54 | 63 | 72 | 81 | 90 |

10 |
10 | 20 | 30 | 40 | 50 | 60 | 70 | 80 | 90 | 100 |

The numbers in the yellow squares are SQUARE numbers which means that they are the answer to multiplying a number by itself.

2 x 2 = 22 (read as 2 squared) = 4

3 x 3 = 32 (read as 3 squared) = 9

4 x 4 … and so on.

Students need to learn these and know them by heart. They can then easily add to or subtract from these to get the correct answers they need quickly.

Multiplication sums are reversible. Thus 3 x 4 = 4 x 3; 7 x 2 = 2 x 7 – Further inspection of the line shows that the answers are reflected along the yellow diagonal. This means that only half of the answers are required to be learnt, and these could be applied to the reverse.

In summary

- Learn your square numbers
- Add/ subtract confidently from known answers to get the more tricky answers

As always, the key to getting better is practice, practice and more practice!