Teaching, Learning and Understanding Times Tables

At Exeter a learning community, we focus on ONE times table each half term with opportunities built in to also practise those learnt previously. Why do we focus on one times table per half term? This is to ensure plasticity of the brain and that research suggests it takes up to 8 weeks to transfer into the long term memory. It is a national curriculum expectation that children know all their timestables facts (and corresponding division facts) up to 12x12 fluently by the end of Year 4.

What children must know about multiplication before they embark on learning times tables:

  • Unitising – understanding that you can count a large group of items by counting smaller, equal groups of items from within the large group;
  • Understanding equal and unequal groups;
  • Combining equal groups;
  • Understanding the early relationship between repeated addition and the times sign.

Focus on each 'new' times table for a half term

  • Regular retrieval practice to develop fluency (5 minutes 3 times a week). An emphasis on saying (and hearing) the sound pattern of the phrase is important and can lead to verbal prediction and patterning – but this practice should include conceptual support. This partly done via rolling numbers (please see the videos on our rolling number page)
  • Practise with speed. With the support of TTRS (Timetables RockStars) the children regularly rehearse and practise their timetables knowledge through a range of games – either competing against the clock to improve their rock status, or by setting their own goals on the facts they would like to practise further.

How do the children know how they are doing?

Each child will be able to see their own ‘heatmap’ on TTRS, which shows how quickly they can answer each timetables fact.

What happens after Year 4?

All children in Years 5 and 6 should be fluent in their times tables recall up to 12x12. Because of this, we ask that all children play garage and studio games on TTRS 3-5 minutes a day at home to ensure that they can maintain their speed and accuracy.  Timestables plays a vital role in many elements of maths in Years 5 and 6, the most obviously being multiplication and division questions, but also fractions, percentages and working out area