Mathematics Blog - Number Sense Challenge

Our 8 week focus on Times Tables has come to an end but what an impact it has had!


Over the last 8 weeks each class has been focusing on multiplication tables and their related division facts.  Each class has had a different focus which was chosen based upon the needs of the class.  Take a look at the individual class pages for more details. 


For 8 weeks, times tables became a daily focus in every classroom.  We launched the project with the children in a ‘silly sock’ assembly and set up challenges on Times Table Rock Stars and Sumdog that could be completed in school and/or at home.  Each class set up a page on their class website to keep parents informed of progress and share with them useful resources and ideas. 


To measure the impact of the project we used both quantitative data, in the form of a baseline and exit test, as well as qualitative data, in the form of a child perception survey and a parental survey monkey.  Here is a summary of the impact.


Parents’ View:


At the end of the project, 87% of parents felt their children’s confidence had increased as a result of the 8 week focus. 


Childrens’ Perception:


Across KS1 and KS2, 172 children participated in the exit survey.

141 children (82%) felt their confidence had increased since the start of the project.

On the 1-10 scale, children’s confidence increased (on average) by 2.9 points to 8.9 out of 10.


The following chart shows this breakdown by year group. 



Confidence Rate (Scale 1-10)




Increase in Point Score

Confidence Increase (%)


































A times tables test with related division facts was given at the beginning of week 1 and was repeated at the end of week 8.  Each class created a baseline/exit test focusing on the areas of improvement within their own class.



Baseline *

(Average Marks on Test)

Exit *

(Average Marks on Test)


(Increase in Average Marks on Test)






12.74 (32)




18.65 (80)




19.32 (32)




19.31 (35)




29.36 (45)



* Brackets indicate total score available in each year group


In Reception, over the 8 weeks, they learnt to count in 10s as well as introduce the language and symbol for multiplication.  At the end of the 8 weeks, 29 children took part in a test of their 10 times table multiplication facts.  The average score in this test was 8.2 out of 12.

12th March 2018
This week is the final week of our 8 week focus on times tables.  
Each class is continuing to practise daily and Sumdog and Times Table Rock Stars have new focused challenges for everyone to complete.  So keep practising.  
This week, we will also be analysing the impact of the following 8 weeks by asking the children and parents how successful they feel the last 8 weeks has been.  Watch this space for our findings... 
26th February 2018
Last week the children in all classes were given the opportunity to evaluate their times tables learning over the first half of the plan.  An amazing 78% of children felt more confident with their times tables than they did at the beginning.  They also identified the things that had helped them learn and become more confident and made suggestions for how we could make the learning experience even better.  These suggestions will now be incorporated into the learning for the rest of the plan and beyond...
Things that have worked well
  • Using practical resources to learn times tables.
  • Using practical resources to learn related division facts.
  • Teaching related division facts alongside multiplication facts.
  • Daily practise in Maths Talk and the mathematics lesson.
  • Using Times Table Rock Stars and Sumdog to support learning at home.
  • Playing competitive games e.g. ‘Splat’ and ‘Around the World’.
  • Singing songs to learn times tables.

 Things that would make the learning even better

  • More focus on specific times tables the children find difficult.
  • Tailor Sumdog and Times Table Rock Stars challenges to also focus on tricky areas.
  • Identify more games and songs that focus on the tricky areas.
  • Develop opportunities for children to use Sumdog and Times Table Rock Stars more in school.
  • Set up more whole school challenges on Sumdog and Times Table Rock Stars. 
19th February 2018
We are now starting the second half of our 8 week plan. 
At the beginning of the plan we asked all the children to rate how confident they were with the times tables they were going to be learning over the 8 week period.  At end of week 4 we asked them to complete the same perception survey again.  An amazing 78% of children felt more confident with their times tables than they did four weeks previous. 
This week all the classes will be asking the children to evaluate their learning so far, identifying the things that have worked well, those that they don't feel have helped them and suggestions for how we can make the learning experience even better.
Watch this space for a summary of their suggestions... 
9th February 2018
We have now reached half way through our 8 week plan to improve Times Table fluency.  This week the children have reevaluated their perception surveys that they completed at the start of the project.
In Falcons, they have been making their own times tables games in a variety of different ways.  Some have used computer programs like Scratch, some have made board games and others have made 3D models to help them recall facts.  
In Otters, they have been focusing on their 2 times table this week.  They have also been set the challenge over half term to create their own games focusing on either the 2x, 5x or 10x tables.  
2nd February 2018
Week three and the plan has continued to gain momentum.  Children from all year groups are talking about their learning of times tables and particularly their favourite games they are playing within the classroom and on Sumdog and Times Tables Rock Stars.
In Otters they have been focusing on the 5 times table using games in class, on Sumdog and Times Table Rock Stars.  
In Zebras they have been making their own times tables games and playing them with each other.
In Falcons they have been playing games to develop their speed whilst maintaining their accuracy.  Find the games here:
26th January 2018
This week our Number Sense Times Table Challenge has really taken off.
Our class councils have sought pupils views on times tables: how confident they are; what they find tricky and how they learn them best.  These view are being collated by our Year 6 school councillors  and the ideas will be incorporated into how times tables is taught in each class.
The current focus for each class is as follows:
Reception: Counting in 10s.
Year 1:  Counting in 10s.  Increasing fluency of multiplication and related division facts.
Year 2: This week's focus is increasing fluency of multiplication and division fats for the 10 times table.  Challenges have been set on Sumdog and Times Tables Rock Stars to support this.
Year 3: Focus is 3 times and 6 times table.  This week Zebras have been learning through songs and games e.g. Splat.
Year 4: Focus is 6, 7 and 8 times tables.  Macaws have been working on a Sumdog challenge.
Year 5: Focus is 6, 7 and 12 times tables.  Tamarins have been working on a Sumdog challenge.
Year 6:  Focus is 6, 8 and 12 times tables.  This week Falcons have been learning through Sumdog and games e.g. Catch 1 Partner, Round The World and Splat.
Take a look at individual class pages for pictures and examples of the games being played.  
22nd January 2018
This week we have signed up for a free trial with Times Tables Rock Stars.  The trial will last for four weeks and at the end of that time, if we want to, Friends of little Plumstead have agreed to pay for a subscription so we can continue learning.  So get your children using it and let us know what you and they think.
The goals of Times Table Rock Stars are:
  • when it comes to times tables, speed AND accuracy are important – the more facts your child remembers, the easier it is for them to do more challenging calculations 
  • to be a fun and challenging programme designed to help children master their times tables
  • to answer multiplication facts up to 12 x 12 in less than 3 seconds
At Times Table Rock Stars they believe that world famous rock musicians are the best at what they do because they've spent hours practising guitar chords, writing music or playing on the drums. It's just the same with times tables – all Times Table Rock Stars need to practise and practise and practise. Practising a little bit of times tables daily is more effective than spending hours once a week.
Times Tables Rock Stars recommends the following activities.
  1.     Reading the times tables out loud
  2.     Scatter tables
  3.     Write tables on a piece of paper
  4.     Play online at using individual log ins

What happens next?

This week your child will be bringing home their individual log ins and passwords for Times Tables Rock Stars together with details of the tables they are focusing on over the next few weeks.   

16th January 2018
Our Number Sense Challenge focused on times tables was launched with an assembly from Mrs. Malcolm and Mrs. Holmes.  The children had to find out how many people could be invited to Mrs. Malcolm and Mrs. Holmes' silly sock party (by sorting socks and matching pairs) and then they had to calculate how many packets of cakes were needed if everyone had one cake each and the cakes were bought in packs of 4.  The assembly highlighted the importance of counting and developing links between the two times and four times table.    
16th January 2018
Number Sense Challenge: Times Tables
This week we have launched a whole school Number Sense Challenge focused on Times Tables.  Each class will have a different focus but the aim for all is to become more fluent in their times table knowledge and the related division facts.  

The secret to learning times tables is to practise little and often.  Over the next eight weeks we will using a variety of teaching and learning methods to improve our times tables.    


On this blog, and on the individual class pages, we will be providing details of resources we have used, or have been recommended to us by the children, to support their learning.   


Please help us by encouraging your child to practise their times tables at home daily.


If you have any questions, or would like any help with ideas to support your child, please speak to your child’s teacher.


Many thanks for your support.