We’re big fans of teaching thinking skills, especially when it comes to Math. That’s why we released Math Shake, an app designed to support learners unpacking and decoding word problems with math. To become an effective mathematician though, you need to be developing good number knowledge.
Number knowledge facts are mental shortcuts that we learn to enable us to solve more complex problems. Recalling 7 lots of 7 is 49 is much quicker than skip counting from 7 to 49 or by deriving from known facts; recalling 5 lots of 7 is 35 and then adding on two more lots of 7. When we went to school the way you learnt times tables was by rote, by repeating them, by singing them or by being quizzed on them enough that they were burned into your memory. Our next app, Times Table Galaxy, is designed to make learning times tables fun.
Times Table Galaxy uses reinforcement, engagement and competition to help students move from skip counting to instant recall. Times Table Galaxy works by scaffolding students through the stages of learning multiplication facts - starting with skip counting. Learners need to skip count through a multiple to fly higher in space. The quicker they go, they better their time is. The better their time is, the higher they rank against their friends and other players of TTG.
Because Times Table Galaxy encourages learners to play again and again to beat their peers’ scores the neural pathways for those number facts are reinforced again and again. Along the way learners need to use skimming and scanning skills and quick reflexes to constantly improve on their score and beat their friends.
Skip counting, in and of itself, isn’t the ultimate goal however - we want learners to remember their multiplication facts. To finish a level, especially the mastery (★) level, learners need to collect atoms which asks them random facts in the times table they are practicing.
Quickly answering non sequential multiplication questions and comparing multiple times tables questions reinforces those number facts not just as a skip counting strategy but a recallable multiplication fact.
Times Table Galaxy will be available soon, for free, for iPhone and iPad. Follow us on Facebook to find out when it is available.