‘Know Your Times Tables’ Review

Many students struggle with times tables and find learning them by repetition tedious and even stressful. We’ve just bought a new game, ‘Know Your Times Tables’ by GPW Tuition Services, which aims to help your kids learn through a range of methods in a fun and positive way. When one of our tutors was asked for homework help by her own daughter, it was a great opportunity to review the game. Here’s how she got on…

As a tutor at Worcester Learning Zone, I was keen to try out the new game ‘Know Your Times Tables. I didn’t have chance to play the game with any of my students so when my nine year old daughter, Larissa, came home with multiplication homework, it seemed to be the ideal opportunity. Her Learning Log homework entitled ‘Multiplication Mayhem’ was “to investigate easy ways to learn your times tables”. So, we borrowed the game from the Zone and took it home to play.

At first glance the ‘Know Your Times Tables’ game is attractive in a colourful, good quality box and claims to be “A unique system for learning tables”. There is lots of information in the box and I discovered that the system was created and developed by a private home tutor.

Larissa was excited about playing the game particularly as it meant some one to one time with me! She was hoping that it would be a board game but we found that the contents comprise of twelve times tables strips (with x and = printed on them), tables cards (2- 10) and answer cards (for all tables 2- 10 ). I found the instruction book really easy to use with clear, concise step by step instructions for one to one, group and class work.

Larissa decided that she would like to work on her three times tables because she wasn’t feeling very confident that she knew it well. So we set it up for threes. The system works by allowing the student to start with what they know. On this occasion, Larissa immediately knew 5 x 3, 10 x 3, 1 x 3, 2 x 3 and 3 x 3. She was then able to fill in the other answers both by adding on three to the ones she had done and recognising the pattern.

The next step was to learn four of the strips at a time starting with the first four: 1 x 3 = 3, 2 x 3 = 6, 3 x 3 = 9 and 4 x 3 = 12…
Then, once learnt, take the answers off and put them back into place one at a time.Then it was time to learn the middle four, then the last four. The middle four were the most difficult. This is an effective way of learning something chunk by chunk rather than looking at it as a whole.

The instuctions give tips on what to do if the student makes a mistake with a few different options depending on the situation and the individual. With Larissa, I found that it was better to get her to double check and work things out for herself with some questioning and prompting. This gave her the chance to self correct meaning she felt more empowered and had her confidence boosted. The system also emphasises the importance of praise for correct answers (and I would add for effort and trying their best!).

The next step is to go through the times table as a whole, take off the answers and put them back one at a time. The student will realise that some numbers can go in various places and with the cards being single digits the student needs to decide whether to put them in the tens position or the units position.

By this time we had been playing the game for about an hour and Larissa was getting tired so we had a break. However, apart from chunking the times table, I feel that the next stage is very important and consolidates the learning. The instuctions suggest the student turns their back and the tutor asks the times table sums out of order. The sums can also be written down out of order for the student to complete.

Overall, the ‘Know Your Times Tables’ system is a great tool for learning times tables in a fun way. It could easily be adapted depending on the child/ student and I think it is important to be flexible so that you can pick and choose the best ways of working for a particular individual. As a one-to-one game it is great and I feel it would benefit parents who want to help their children learn their times tables at home.

Thanks to Kirsty Stockwell for writing this review, and her daughter for trying out the game and allowing her photo to be used! As you can see, she looks very happy with it. Let us know how you get on.

This game can be purchased from Worcester Learning Zone for £30.  Please contact Carys, Lucy or Lily should you wish to buy a copy.