What is the best way to teach those tricky x3 times tables? This article explains a simple way to help every student learn the multiples of 3 using their knowledge of the x2 facts.

Strategy: Double and Add One More Set

This set of Times Tables or Multiplication Number Facts is taught after the x2 and the x10/x5 sets. The students should already have instant recall of doubling numbers. The x3 is the next step; that is they have to add one more of the number they are multiplying.

E.g. 4x3 = Double 4 + 4 = 8 + 4 = 12

Use counters on an overhead projector, or circles on a PowerPoint slide, laid out in an array fashion. Avoid using disarranged groups for showing multiplication. The array layout is a much clearer, more efficient arrangement so students should be encouraged to visualise multiplication using this.

3x Worksheets for Practice

Download a 3x times tables worksheet, with answer sheet, to give your students practice using this strategy. This worksheet is taken from our eBook 10 Minutes a Day: Times Tables Worksheets; if you like what you see, enter your name and email address in the form on the right to download the entire 132-page eBook, completely free. Or go to the "10 Minutes a Day: Times Tables Worksheets" information page to learn more about what is contained in this amazing offer.

After the students have been shown how to visualize and work out in their heads any x3 table, then the next step is for them to practice them. By being asked to work out x3 facts repeatedly at speed, the students will automatically reinforce the learned fact. Have the x3 page ready for each student, set your stopwatch and say "Go!" The students race each other to complete the set.  When a student is finished, they can call out "finished!". A Caller calls out the time, and the student writes the time read to them at the top of the page. If the class has a large stopwatch that each student can see then a Caller is not needed. You will notice that the bottom of the page has addition and subtraction revision facts. These help keep past number facts fresh the students minds.

The eBook 10 Minutes a Day: Times Tables Worksheets contains four different 3x practice sheets. On each of the worksheets in the eBook, every one of the x3 tables is recalled about 8 to 10 times. Daily practice is the key. After four days of practising the students get much faster and are often thrilled to see their time drop each day. The difference between Monday's time and Thursday's is often dramatic.

The eBook also contains homework sheets that correspond to the weekly set of tables learned.  These begin with a brief explanation of the strategy taught, as well as a practice sheet. There is a second homework sheet for extra practice if you like. Parents will love you for teaching their child their tables and appreciate being involved in this important but often arduous task.

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