Wednesday, 9 October 2013

The three times table

I doubt many of you can tell me what '8 x 9' is or '12 x 7' or that little bugger of '8 x 7 ?'

You might have to trawl through the whole times table to get there, or it might be imprinted on your brain from primary school days or you may have counted on from the last times table you know. Or you used a calculator. Or you couldn't give a shit.

A now has the delight of learning her times tables, starting from the 3's. This is done as a test every week, if she gets 10/10 every week for three weeks in a row, she has the privilege of moving up to her 4's. If she fails to get them all right, I guess she stays on the three times table forever.

So we started trying to reason with her, to use logic, to use her already accumulated mathematics to try and see the patterns. Everyday a little nudging and cajoling. You could see the cogs working in her tiny brain.

"7 times 3, A?" I would ask her, cutting up the fruit for breakfast.

"24, no 18, 24, yes it's 24. No no no, it's 21!" she remembered. The numbers were in there somewhere, just not in the right order.

I figured she could remember the key numbers, she had the answers but just didn't know which questions to marry them with. So we made up little ditties, rhymes, silly expressions and jokey voices.

"Eight times three - knock on the door - twenty four!"

"Seven times three is Mummy's favourite - twenty one!"

"Six times three, bra's on your head - eighteen!"

No idea where the last one came from but it worked, she remembered all her three times tables, with zero amount of logic and absolutely no maths applied.

So now we are on to the fours.


  1. The best so far on the fours is "8 4's are dirty poo 32!"

  2. Hi Sarah,

    The hardest one is definitely 7 times 8 = 56. The best way we found to remember that one was simply the sequence "5678" and suddenly 7*8=56 is not so hard anymore :-)
    We also really like MathRider at


    1. Hi Nadine, I love the 7x8 rule, will keep it up my sleeve for when we get there! Thanks for the top tips! Sarah

  3. I've just been told another one....8 and 8 was sick on the floor 64! Genius!