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Daddy hacks | The 9 times table

I don't know about you, but I don't remember being issued any homework in primary school back in the 1980s. We've talked about homework several times before on the blog. That's because Lyall and Richard's homework usually involves either me or Tom constructing something from old rubbish and recycling. Usually something like a hat, a vehicle or an instrument, relating tenuously to a classroom topic. In recent weeks we've made an african drum (a painted tub of greek yoghurt with a balloon fixed around the top), a Da Vinci inspired invention inside a shoe-box (a total 'Da saster' ending in an enormous tantrum) and a 'cress head' (the classic hard boiled egg gargoyle with cress hair).

While I don't remember homework from my childhood, I do clearly remember spellings and the times tables. Back in those days, the times tables were learned from a huge, baffling chart - literally a table of numbers multiplied together. Do you remember it? Numbers one to ten along the top and left axis with hundreds of numbers filling the middle. It wasn't very helpful, to be honest and the modern approach is far easier on the brain. The boys learn each number's multiples separately, via 'challenges' - worksheets containing real-life multiplication problems in context, like buying groceries or counting cows' legs up and stuff like that. It seems to sink in a little better.

Tom and I feel as though we know our times tables, at least up to ten (although we both admit to an occasional struggle with the sevens and eights if caught off-guard). In a few moments, I'll share my trick for the 9 times table with you. It never fails!

Times Tables Survey Reveal

But before I reveal my 9 times table hack, I wanted to quickly explore the results of a survey by YouGov, on behalf of educational app Edplus. It revealed 52% of parents and guardians of school-aged children across Britain don't know their times tables perfectly. The results also revealed that...

  • The easiest times table to recall perfectly was the 2 times table, with 76% of the British population being able to do so.

  • The hardest was the 8 times table, with only 59% of British population being able to recall it perfectly.

  • People aged 55 and over knew their times tables best, with 60% of respondents being able to recall all their times tables perfectly.

  • People aged between 25 and 34 (coincidentally the majority of our readers' age group) fared worst - only 38% able to recall their times tables perfectly.

But it's not all bad news, particularly for our fellow midlanders - only 36% of parents of school-aged children in London could recall their times tables perfectly compared to 50% in the Midlands.

Daddy's 9 times table hack

There's a simple way to multiply any number (up to 10) by 9 quickly inside your head which you can pass down to your kids!

Take away 1, add up to 9.

Let me explain.

All the answers in the 9 times table's digits add up to 9. Look:

2 x 9 = 18 (1 + 8 = 9)

3 x 9 = 27 (2 + 7 = 9)

4 x 9 = 36 (3 + 6 = 9)

5 x 9 = 45 (4 + 5 = 9)

...and so on until

10 x 9 = 90 (9 + 0 = 9)

Try it with 7 x 9 like this:

7 take away 1 is 6 (this means the answer's going to be 60 something).

You already know 6 + 3 = 9, so... the answer is 63.

Try 8 x 9:

8 take away 1 is 7 (this means the answer's got to be 70 something). You already know 7 + 2 = 9 so the answer must be 72.

Take away 1, add up to 9!

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