Timetables Break Through

I have recently been looking into pattern and how this helps with learning different multiplication tables (instead of just rote learning – although yes I do think children should be able to memorise their multiplication tables it is not as easy for some as to just memorise and chant them out straight away) that children struggle with and Hopkins, Gifford and Pepperell (1999). seem to have great ideas that I have never come across whilst teaching or being taught my timetables!

Hopkins et al. (1999, p.26-8) focus on the 3-8 timetables due to the fact the 1,2 and 10 timetable are relatively easy to learn. They suggest using a staircase pattern (for an example see below) for the 3-8 timetables:

  • For the three timetable – Hopkins et al. suggest using multilink cubes/cuisenaire rods, sides/corners of triangles or the segments of fingers.
  • For the four timetable – the legs on animals or tables, corners of squares.
  • For the five timetable – (although this is relatively easy table to learn as the pattern for the five timetables the last digit alternates between the 5 and 0) Hopkins et al. suggest using 5p coins or hands to build the staircase.
  • For the six timetable – use hexagons, egg boxes or 6 chairs around a table to build the staircase.
  • For the seven timetable – use heptagons to build the staircases
  • For the eight timetable – use spider/octopuses legs or octagons.

All of these are also great links to learning shape – learning the name of the shape to the amount of sides/corners it has.

Any of the above can be taken and put into this example:

Screenshot (79)

However, the nine timetable is not easy. Well it is with the help of your hands. If you go along your fingers by the number of times you wish to multiple by nine put that finger down and you get the answer with the tens on the left hand side and the units on the right and side.




Hopkins, C., Gifford, S. and Pepperell, S. (1999) Mathematics in the Primary School: A Sense of Progression London: David Fulton Publishers