As I prepare for my speaker role in 2 days’ time (BC CHEC, Kelowna), I cannot write a blog entry today about anything else other than Times Tables, although this was my theme here just a few weeks ago (see the long list of concepts which rely on TT knowledge a few entries back… Feb 22nd)
One of the most amazing moments for me as a math teacher was when I was working 2 weeks ago with a G8 student who had asked me to help with division, as he was finding it impossible to handle.
The worded problem causing the issue boiled down to needing to find 25% of 783.65
So I stepped back a little and did some basic figuring out what the student could and could not do… it transpired that he knew that 25% was a quarter… knew this meant dividing by 4… he knew how to do the mechanics of long division, and also short division, and was sophisticated enough to know which of these to use… and he knew how to figure out the final answer. BUT, WHAT THE REAL ISSUE turned out to be, was that because he did not know his 4x table to have the quick facts at the ready, OR how to count up in fours confidently, the whole thing fell apart- by the time he had figured out how many fours fitted in to each step of the division, he had become lost in the steps. Lost, frustrated and disheartened.
Having a grip on Times Tables really is central to accessing MOST concepts (see list in previous blog entry) covered after G5/6!!
Coping with any division question needs one to have a grip on Times Tables.
Find a way to nail the Times Tables. You will be so glad you did!!
I will be making a huge thing of this in my talk… not long now (gulp).
Best quote of my teaching/program review week:
"Oh wow- I thought it was division I was struggling with... but it wasn't... it was not knowing my (Times) Tables... this has SO helped!!"