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An innovative game that enables the learning of tables and the inverse, by understanding number relationships

Tackling Tables

United Kingdom
Tables and the inverse are learnt through playing cards. Motivation comes from regular 'Beat your best tests'. and whole school recognition. This is a fun resource which pupils (and parents) love. When embedded in school, and used regularly, it will reap tremendous results - not only in tables/division scores but in the whole child's self-esteem. Soon to be supported by an online version.

Times Tables and the inverse..................sorted!

“ Tackling Tables has revolutionised our children's understanding and fluency of times tables. What an amazing initiative! The approach is fun, exciting and engaging for children, teachers and parents alike. I could not recommend this any more highly - a fantastic opportunity. The best decision as a maths lead that I have made! :) Thank you Dennis and Margi! ”

Jocelyn Knight: Maths Lead King’s Cliffe Primary School, Peterborough

Ever tried teaching formal written calculation methods or anything to do with fractions or percentages to a class with a minimal knowledge of their tables - let alone the inverse? This frustration led to our determination to find a way to enable pupils to overcome this significant obstacle. Thus, began the journey of Tackling Tables.

We appreciate that mastering instant recall of tables and the inverse by the end of year 4, is not the universal panacea to solve all maths challenges. However, from our personal experience, the empowerment afforded by such knowledge has visibly changed pupil’s self-perception and unlocked not only their learning but impacted significantly their attitude to maths.

The rationale behind Tackling Tables is to establish the understanding of number relationships and in so doing overcome the age-old problem of “I can multiply but I can’t divide”. So, rather than learn tables in isolation Tackling Tables helps children to appreciate commutativity and the inverse.

You can see from the way the cards are designed that the approach is very simple. We aim to help children appreciate for example that if they know 9 x 5 = 45, they should also know that 5 x 9 = 45. Introducing the inverse at this stage also means that they know 45 ÷ 5 = 9 and 45 ÷ 9 = 5.

Children find the development of instant recall through regularly playing with the Tackling Tables cards exciting and utterly engaging. Furthermore, motivation is sustained by regular “Beat your Best” testing and whole school recognition through certificates and button badges.

Tackling Tables takes the age-related National Curriculum expectations and breaks them down into 3 colour-coded phases.

Blue Phase 1x; 2x; 5x & 10x (by end of year 2 - age 7)

Green Phase 3x; 4x & 8x (by end of year 3 - age 8)

Red Phase 6x; 7x; 9x;11x & 12x (by end of year 4 - age 9)

Whilst the common perception is that as you progress, the task gets harder, with Tackling Tables, as children systematically move through the phases, the number of tables left to learn - and therefore the number of cards -reduces. In effect, the job gets easier!

Tackling Tables is easy to implement as a whole school approach and very effective. If our year 2 children can arrive at year 3 with the instant recall of 1; 2; 5 and 10 times tables (and the inverse) in place, then it will be much easier for these young KS2 pupils to develop their mathematical competence. With this systematic approach embraced throughout the school, it liberates the year 5/6 children and teachers, enabling them to focus on the challenging demands placed upon them.

In addition to basic testing material, the scheme has been developed to include a significant amount of intelligent practice material (e.g. missing numbers; multiples and fractions of amounts) so that children throughout Key Stage 2 and even into Key Stage 3 can deepen their understanding by applying what they have learned.

From a school leadership perspective, pupil progress pupil progress by class/gender/disadvantage and SEND can be monitored using a bespoke tracker spreadsheet which is now available to all Tackling Tables schools. The spreadsheet also enables the leadership team to monitor what percentage of children are working at age-related expectations.

Finally, to strengthen this innovative teaching and learning resource, Tackling Tables online is about to be launched. This will support the playing of the Tackling Tables cards by enabling children to play online any time and on any device. Scores will be recorded and reports automatically generated for teachers and school leaders. Watch this space!!

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Innovation Overview
1 - 18
Age Group
Focus areas
Tips for implementation
Tackling Tables is the only resource a school will need to help children master times tables and the inverse. As a comprehensive whole school scheme of work, it includes basic testing material; a whole school recognition system and monitoring sheets so that children can track their own progress. It also comes with a wide range of intelligent practice material so that children can practice their tables knowledge in the context of finding missing numbers; working out multiples and calculating fractions of amounts. The approach is supported by a bespoke tracker system that enables teachers and the school leadership team to check progress and also establish what percentage of children are working at age- related expectations. The scheme also facilitates the involvement of parents so that they can support what is being done in the classroom. With the imminent introduction of Tackling Tables online, this easy to implement approach is a simple and effective solution for any school or parent who want to get times tables and the inverse......sorted!
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HundrED Review

Tackling Tables, developed by teachers for teachers and parents, is the only resource you will ever need to deliver a consistent, easy to implement, whole school approach to learning times tables and the inverse. It is effective in helping children meet the demands of 36 questions in 30 minutes in the SAT’s arithmetic test and also getting pupils ready for compulsory testing of year 4 pupils in 2019/2020. Tackling Tables is an innovative resource to teach the understanding of the number relationships, not just times tables and division. It encourages 'mathematical literacy' (numeracy), an area often neglected in the maths curriculum.


Tackling Tables has been shown to increase student attainment, with students typically progressing over half a phase in just one half-term! Students are also empowered, and feel more confident in their mathematical ability.


Tackling Tables is now in 90 schools across the UK, and last year a school in Nigeria became our first overseas license holder. Our new online facility will give more children, parents and teachers access globally!


See this innovation in action

An engaging and entertaining resource used to develop fluency with children's basic calculations. The children are learning their times tables without even realising it and they love taking their tests trying to beat their best results. The directors of tackling tables are extremely helpful and are always trying to think of ways to improve their product and communication between schools and company is fantastic!
Before coming to Dennis and Margi Browns tacking tables my daughter really struggled with her maths 100% tackiling tables has given Ruby such confidence and enjoyment to which she is now back on track and having good SAT results ready for her step up to high school, couldn't thank them enough


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Getting Started
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Playing the Cards
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Beat Your Best Tests
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Embedding and Extending
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Getting Parents Involved
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