Exploring Times Tables
Years 2 - 8


After you learn this activity it's a good idea to come back many times to test yourself.
You will learn a lot of other maths more easily if you know all your Times Tables quickly.

Preparation

  • Print this Times Tables Chart. (You have never seen one like this before.)
  • Two long, thin sticks such as straws, skewers or pencils.
    You will be putting them across the picture on the chart.
  • One calculator (there's one on your phone)
  • One pack of playing cards.
  • Write the title of this challenge and today's date on a fresh page in your maths journal.

Learning The Language

It's all about rows. Rows go across your tummy.

3 rows of 5
3 times you count 5

3 x 5
x means rows of or times
3 x 5 = ... (say the answer)

  7 rows of 6
7 times you count 6

7 x 6
x means rows of or times
7 x 6 = ... (say the answer)

  1 row of 4
1 time you count 4

1 x 4
x means rows of or times
1 x 4 = ... (say the answer)

  3 rows of 3
3 times you count 3

3 x 3
x means rows of or times
3 x 3 = ... (say the answer)

Copy these two
into your journal and finish them.

After you write the last line
say the whole line two (2) ways.

Check your answer
with your calculator.

  5 rows of ...
... times you count 3

... x ...
x means rows of or times
... x ... = ...

  9 rows of ...
... times you count 1

... x ...
x means rows of or times
... x ... = ...

  Make up one more
of your own like this.

Draw it, write it and say it.

Going Backwards

I have six (6) blue plugs. There are four (4) ways to arrange them in equal rows.
  • Draw the four ways and write their stories like the ones above.
I have nine (9) blue plugs . There are three (3) ways to arrange them in equal rows.
  • Draw the three ways and write their stories like the ones above.
I have seven (7) blue plugs. There are two (2) ways to arrange them in equal rows.
  • Draw the two ways and write their stories like the ones above.
I have twelve (12) blue plugs.
  • Draw all the ways to arrange them in equal rows and write their stories.

Using The Chart

Every times table you need to know is in this chart.

Let's look for them.

Cover the chart with a piece of paper.

How many blue plugs can you see?

Of course the answer is zero (0).

The number of rows under the paper doesn't matter.
If you see zero rows then you also see zero plugs.

So,

  • zero rows of (any number) = zero
This is your first times table:
  •     0 x (any number) = 0

Slide the paper down one row at time and say each times table as you see it...

One times ten equals ten.
Two times ten equals twenty.
Three times ten equals thirty.
...right to the end...
That's the 10 times table.
If you want to, you can write it out in your journal the short way.

 :

Let's find the three (3) times table.

Cover the board so only rows of three are showing down the board.

There it is. The three times table is looking at you.

Keep the first paper where it is.

  • Cover the 3 times table with a second piece of paper.
What is the answer to 0 x 3 = ...?
  • Slide the second paper down and say your three times table as you go...
    One times three equals three.
    Two times three equals six.
    ...
If you want to, you can write it out in your journal the short way.

Your Turn

  • You have found the 3 times and the 10 times. Explore with two pieces of paper to find the 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 times tables.
Have fun Exploring Times Tables.

Note: If your school is a member of Maths300, your teacher can provide software, titled Tackling Time Tables, that will help you explore times tables.

Josephine and her mum were exploring times tables. What might they do with a second piece of paper?

How do you know?

Can you check it another way?

 

Ask Me Any Times Table

These kids made up a new challenge. They have used two straws and two edges of the chart to make a fence around a times table. Their teacher asked them what they were doing. This what they said:
Ask me any times table.
8 rows of 7.
I will build a fence around it with two straws and tell you the answer ... It's fifty-six.
Then I ask you "How do you know?"
And I have to explain in two ways.
Then we check it on the calculator.
  • How would you know that 8 x 7 = 56?
  • Can you check it another way?
Try the Ask Me Any Times Table challenge with someone else in the family.
Remember to check it another way and check it on the calculator.

Playing The Game With Cards

You can play Ask Me Any Times Table with a pack of cards.
  • Leave the Royal cards in the pack and take out all the others.
  • Sort them into four suits Ace through to 10.
  • Put the red suits into one pile and shuffle them.
  • Do the same with the black suits.
  • Put the two piles face down in front of you.
Turn over the two top cards. If you turn 2 and 7 then you build a fence around 2 rows of 7 (2 x 7).
  • Predict the number of plugs inside the fence. (I think the answer is ...)
  • Build the fence.
  • Say the answer.
  • Explain how you know and check it another way.
  • Check your answer with the calculator.
  • Record in your journal.
  • Start again.
It's easy to play this game with a partner.
One of you has the red pile and one has the black. You both turn over a top card and take turns to predict, build, say and check.

Hide The Times Table

You need a partner for this game.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Your partner covers a times table with a piece of paper.
  • Open your eyes.
  • You have to work out the hidden times table and say it with the answer.
  • Explain how you know, then remove the cover to check.
  • Now hide one for your partner.
Keep coming back to Exploring Times Tables until you know the whole Times Tables chart.

Just Before You Finish

In your journal:
  1. Explain why you think it helps a mathematician to know their times tables.
  2. Keep a record of the times tables you are sure off and the ones you still want to learn.

Answers & Discussion

These notes were originally written for teachers. They have been shared from the Members section of Calculating Changes, which is a division of Mathematics Centre.

Send any comments or photos about this activity and we can start a gallery here.

 

Maths At Home is a division of Mathematics Centre