Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Square numbers and multiplication tables

Over the past few weeks we have been working on our times tables...
I realised trying to get my kids to simply memorise these lists of facts was pretty boring... and they are pretty resistant to anything that is boring. So just through spontaneous activities we have been learning them.

It all started one afternoon when we were sitting on the steps outside. I grabbed the whiteboard marker and the whiteboard. While the kids ate afternoon tea, they took turns giving answers to the times tables on a multiplication chart. This was a really great way to see which times-tables they knew and which they needed to work on. After a while, I could see their interest was waning, but I could see they needed to work on the 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, and 12 times tables.

We went inside and I considered that 'done'. About an hour later, Anna-Maria came back inside to show me she had completed all the empty spaces... and they were all correct, except one. Because she did not know these ones she had worked them out so had taken a while. I was impressed with her concentration and determined attitude to complete the chart.

Ella wanted a turn with the board, so she drew a teddy bear.

Practising the times-tables and food seem to be a good combination for my kids. Even Ella wants to be quizzed if it means she gets crackers for swearing.

Last week we learnt square numbers, after they had practised them, we had a 'Who wants to be a millionaire?'-style quiz, with life-lines included... which made them feel it was okay not to have to get everything right, every-time.

This week we have been working on the nine times-tables, so we have been learning the tricks to remember these.

Also, I found a cool maths puzzle book from the library called 'The Grapes of Math' by Greg Tang.

It is a really good book for encouraging/developing mental math strategies... for older kids. Joseph especially enjoyed it... I think because his basic maths facts were up to speed... Anna got a bit upset as she did not grasp one or two of the concepts initially, but she persisted and got there in the end. It is also good for younger kids, as they just like counting the objects or looking for patterns.

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