Should children memorize times tables?

I'm not sure why some react as if threatened by the idea of children memorizing anything. I agree with having an emphasis on understanding, reasoning, and problem solving. But I also take comfort in the fact that the surgeon has "memorized" the correct procedure for a critical operation.

As an elementary educator for thirty years I have always felt that our role was to prepare students for further learning in the years following. I never considered it my job to prepare students for the job market...that comes later. I believe a major role of elementary education is to build a foundation for learning and give students the "tools" they will need to help ensure future success.

Let's give children the tools they need...

Mastering times tables provides young children with an important tool that will greatly assist in the more advanced learning of mathematics in higher grades and beyond.

If a carpenter had to dig through his tool box to find a solution to every simple task that arose in the process of building a structure...well, I don't think he would be a very successful carpenter. If he had a tool in hand that would provide an instant solution to the most frequent steps of construction, then he would have much greater success. There may be more creative ways to drive that nail home but, my goodness, a hammer is such a useful tool.

In grades 3 through 5 children are usually able to master their times tables to 9. Understanding, reasoning and problem solving will come a lot easier with this important tool--and that is what this is all about!

The Card Tables...

Flash cards work! However it depends very much on how they are used. Children respond very quickly to some form of simple game or "friendly" competition with flash cards. Contrary to advertisers and app developers whose primary goal is to sell product, children don't need to have everything sugar coated. Edutainment programs may be fine for play time, but are not the most effective and efficient learning tool.

The goal of The Card Tables is to provide an effective learning tool that uses time efficiently while maintaining a level of interest with appropriate action, progression, repetition, feedback and recognition of success.


times tables