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Maths Grids

Evil Grid:

     

10x10 Grid, 2x-12x:

 

10x10 Grid:

 

12x12 Grid in order:

 

Numeracy

It's important for people to have good basic numeracy skills, including arithmetic and multiplication. Being proficient with these has a flow-on effect to other maths where it helps solve problems faster, leading to less frustration and a better sense of achievement, and more self confidence with maths.

Being able to quickly recall one's times tables (in any order as required) means attempts to tackle problems are not bogged down with working out the numbers rather than working out how to solve it. It saves a huge amount of time in exams.

 

Multiplication grids

A great way to practice times tables is to fill in a multiplication grid and time yourself (or get someone to time you). Try to improve your time each day.

For older primary school students and intermediate school students I recommend the 10 x 10 sized grid with the 1x and 10x tables replaced with the 11x and 12x tables instead. This is shown in the image to the right.

Each grid has the numbers along the top and down the side in random order. This is to encourage the ability to recall the times tables in any order – as required in everyday problems. The numbers are down both sides so either hand can be used to write without covering the numbers.

A good time is under 2 minutes 30 seconds, a time which should be achievable for any intermediate school aged student with a bit of practice. An excellent time is under two minutes.

A simpler 10 x 10 grid just has the 1x to 10x tables and may be more suitable for mid primary school students.

Using a random 12 x 12 sized grid isn't really any harder than the 10 x 10 sized 2x-12x grid, but because there are 44% more numbers to be written it takes longer. Good is under four minutes, excellent is under three minutes. There's probably not much point in doing this grid – if you want to build up stamina* just do two standard grids in a row.

A 12 x 12 sized grid with the numbers in order. This one is useful for students wanting to practice the full times tables and to help the student recognise the patterns in each series.

* Most people are slower in the second half of a grid than in the first half – brain fade. It can be avoided by a good amount of practice to build up endurance.

 

Tips for improving times

Even doing just a couple of grids a day, it's not unusual to see your times plummet. Practice pays off!

The best times are achieved by filling in the grid systematically. The two competing methods are rows and columns. (They hold the first and second fastest times, respectively.) See which one you find most comfortable.

  • Filling in a row at a time, left to right, is most similar to how we write, and so the least amount of time will be wasted moving the pen or pencil without doing any writing.

  • Filling in a column at a time, top to bottom, uses less vertical eye movement and more lateral (sideways) eye movement, which we are more used to from reading.

One student has got times as low as 1:52 by filling the grid in by columns. (Unfortunately she made a mistake so it doesn't count for the high scores. She has also got an unofficial 1:47 time for her own practice grids. Her best official time is 1:58 – second place – a phenomenal improvement from her original times of around six minutes.)

Another important technique is looking ahead at the next multiplication while still writing the previous one. Overlapping the tasks can save a huge amount of time.

 

Multiplication grids downloads

PDFs of the multiplication grids.

Each PDF has a total of 14 pages with two grids per page.

These files updated 9 December 2019 (other than the evil grids file).

 

OpenOffice spreadsheets with random numbers each time opened.

These grids were created in OpenOffice using a Calc spreadsheet that automatically generates the random numbers for the grids. New random numbers are generated every time the file is opened. The file works fine with Excel, although you may have to allow editing for the automatic random number generation to work.

Each file is set up for 14 pages with two grids per page, but do check before printing that things look like they should.

These files updated 9 December 2019 (other than the evil grids file).

 

Practice

If you're having trouble with just one particular number in your times tables you can practice just that times table with these files. Each times table (up to 12x) has its own page, so you can print out the ones you need the most practice with.

The spreadsheet numbers are randomised every time the file is opened or changed.

These files updated 11 September 2012.

 

Other grids – addition and subtraction

Times tables are not the only maths skill that can be practiced with maths grids. Arithmetic can also be practiced using addition and subtraction grids. The random numbers in these grids also include negative numbers (integers).

With the grids where one number is subtracted from another, the number along the top of the grid is the first number. Where two numbers are added together (even if one or both of the numbers is negative) it doesn't actually matter which number is first.

Think of the first number as the starting point on a number line. The operator and the sign of the second number tell you which direction to move on the number line. The absolute value (its value ignoring its sign) of the second number tells you how far to move on the number line.

For each of the addition and subtraction grids in the PDF the second grid on each page is the answers – fold behind when filling in the grid, but when getting started refer to it as often as you like.

14 grids are in the PDF. For more grids use the Open Office file. Every time the file is opened new random numbers are generated.

These files updated 9 December 2019.