MANORFIELD STUDENTS SET TO BECOME TIMES TABLES ROCK STARS
The innovative game sees a rapid improvement in the ability to recall multiplications
This term has seen Manorfield introduce the engaging and educational Times Table Rock Stars initiative as a way of helping students with a crucial part of their maths: the multiplication and division tables. These tricksy tables have long been the bane of parents and teachers who’ve tried to find ways of making this fundamental – but not always fun – aspect of mathematics easily learnable and satisfying for students. With the introduction of Times Table Rock Stars, an interactive programme that comes in the form of worksheets, webgames and an app, Manorfield pupils entered into the spirit of the concept, challenging themselves and going head to head with other classes to see who can answer their times table questions in the fastest times to rise through the rock-star ranks.
Having your multiplication and division tables memorised is similar to equipping yourself with a roadmap for all the formative maths you’ll learn at a young age: being able to jump around and shortcut across the routes between numbers creates a useful chart of the upcoming terrain, speeding up the ability to tackle problems and helping enormously to boost confidence. Bruno Reddy, the maths teacher who set up TT Rockstars, says the concept arose from ‘experiencing the same problem that most primary and secondary maths teachers also experience: trying to teach maths to pupils who don’t have a secure grasp of the times tables.’ Reddy believes that ‘making progress in maths can be hampered by two things: poor recall of the times tables and having low maths confidence’, and thinks that ‘the two almost go hand in hand’. He set about building TT Rockstars – which harnesses the traditional worksheet format as well as the multimedia fun of webgames and the portability and compulsiveness of an app – in order to forge a way for kids to get caught up in the satisfaction of recall and the thrill of making progress.
Since Manorfield have started up the programme we’ve seen enormous improvements in students’ ability to quickly recall multiplication facts, while everyone across the school is unified by the love for the weekly Battle of the Bands competitions, where classes go head to head with others in their Key Stages to see who can get the speediest times, promoting a sense of camaraderie and encouragement over the importance of the tables. Talking to one of our Year 2 classes, it’s clear that the webgames and the app have been the perfect things to get students interested, involved and keen to progress: three Year 2 pupils, Medhi, Riham and Frank all commented on how they enjoyed the fact that they could ‘keep collecting coins’ as they progress, as well as the fun to be had in ‘spending our coins in the shop to buy cool things’. The premise sees you able to pick a character that you can develop – Joseph in Year 2 said he ‘loved changing his avatar’ – who you can then take to various arenas. His classmate, Fahim loves that ‘you can play in different places: the garage, the arena, the festival and the studio’; it’s clear that the game is tailored to make the experience immersive and compelling. Another pupil, Riima enjoys the fact that she can play against her friends in other arenas, while Alex in Nairobi class said that ‘not only can you practise your times tables, you can practise your division too’, indicating how the game develops the incentive to learn.
All this goes to show the hugely positive ways in which apps and websites can be used to help lay the foundations for our students’ education, as well as illustrating how they can be a beneficial source for developing our pupils’ interest in the furthering of their own education outside of school. In the meantime, Manorfield continues to be swept up by the TT Rock Star fever: see our Twitter page for the weekly results of the Battle of the Bands!
To find out more about Times Tables Rock Stars, see the website: https://ttrockstars.com/home