The 2013 UK National Curriculum outlined many aims which carried significant importance, including that of fluency in times tables.
Exploring the need for primary school pupils to gain a strong grasp of recalling times tables fluently and what impact this can have for young people moving forward is important.
Whether or not children opt to study mathematics at a further education level, all pupils will have to undertake the subject at secondary school for an additional five years. The reasoning and learning that comes with understanding times tables can be applied across a wide range of topics within mathematics.
Transitioning from Primary to Secondary Education
Secondary school mathematics education brings with it an increased reliance on the use of times tables; there is a shared expectance that students will have a fully formed knowledge base to draw upon.
Not having this understanding and proficiency could lead to the respective child falling behind in their studies. Mathematics specialist, Mark Avis, emphatically stated the significance of making sure children are up to speed with their times tables:
“There are much, much more important aspects to improving children’s confident use of tables facts in the longer term and some evidence informed ways that schools might adopt in order to do this.”
Advanced work places a challenge of proactive thinking at the door of pupils, who, if they’ve gained a comprehensive grip on times tables, will be able to recognise patterns associated with number sequences – for example, that 3 x 4 = 12, 30 x 40 = 1,200 and therefore 300 x 400 = 120,000.
Applying knowledge to real-life situations
Of course, it’s not just in the classroom where times tables will be exclusively needed and applied, with a wide berth of vocations and situations in life requiring an adeptness in multiplication.
An accountant, for instance, will require a certain level of expertise in mathematics and therefore times tables, but there are many positions that you may not have thought of, which, in some instances put the above topic into practice.
Take a builder for example. Yes, there are obviously a heavy weight of physical skills attached to the role, but what about fixtures and fittings? The working out of measurements? Multiplication all comes into play here.
It would be the same for an individual working in sales – you may have a natural ability for persuasion and engaging dialogue, but what about if you can’t figure out the costs of what you’re selling?
Expand your approaches to teaching times tables
Our webinar with mathematics specialist, Mark Avis, provides primary school headteachers, school leaders and maths leads with a framework and strategic process, to aid children’s development around the learning of multiplication facts and confident use of times tables in the future.
With the upcoming compulsory implementation of an Online Multiplication Tables Check (MTC) to year 4 pupils, it’s important for schools to try and make mastering times tables as fun and engaging as possible.
Taking a broader approach to teaching times tables can maximise a children’s recall ability and help children to learn conceptually as well as procedurally.
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