In maths, across school we will be shortly looking at multiplication in our home learning and I wanted to send some information around how we approach the teaching of this.
We appreciate that in the past times tables were learned by rote; while memorising times tables is still important, we take a different approach to learning multiplication tables to ensure children understand the concept behind them.
We use representations, like the one below.
The reason for this is first, children are introduced to the concept of multiplication as repeated addition. They calculation would be represented as 5 + 5 + 5.
Children would then be taught, as the eggs are in groups of 5, that we have 5 eggs, three times. The calculation would therefore be written as this: 5 x 3. The children would say 5, three times.
As you may notice, this is written differently to how we may have seen times tables in the past. When learning by memory, you could have seen this calculation written as 3 x 5 (three times five)
It is a small but important distinction we make in the teaching of multiplication facts; seeing multiplication this way helps children with grouping, scaling and more difficult problems. If you are able to support your children to follow this method when learning from home, it will ensure consistency with how they are being taught when they are able to return to school.
For example, if we are learning the 4 times table. You may see this:
4 x 1
4 x 2
4 x 3
This would be spoken as:
4, one time;
4, two times;
4, three times etc.
This is in comparison to how the times table could have been written (e.g. 1 x 4, 2x4, 3x4) and spoken (1 times 4,2 times 4 etc). The language and modelling we use with children is around groups (or lots of) and we would write the calculation as how many times we have that group.
Children do learn about how you can carry out the calculation in any order and get the same answer (this is the law of commutativity) but for the purpose of scaling and grouping it is an important distinction.
Click below to view a video of Mr Smith demonstrating this method to support parents/carers at home.