Mathematis – iPhone App Giveaway


Mathematis is a universal educational app for iPhone that helps speed up kids addition, subtraction, multiplication and division??.

With a bright aliens and space theme, set on the faraway planet of Mathematis, your child has to save the peaceful Mathematians from the bombs of their evil nemeses, the Innumerators, by solving math problems. For every math question solved correctly, a Mathematian’s spaceship escapes their war-torn planet; get a question wrong, and the ship is grounded.

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The game is suitable for kids aged 4+ and has customized settings so that your child can play at their correct level whatever their age. For young kids, set a low limit on the answer range to make sure they’re getting easy question. Increase the limit as your child’s skills improve.

I really like the game’s bright graphics and the built in “Do Over” mode which let’s kids have another go at questions they skipped or got wrong. There’s also a parent page where you can track your child’s progress.


Mathematis is a great app for practising arithmetic skills. It doesn’t teach kids how to work out the answers, so is best used as an app to reinforce and improve your child’s mental math recall. The audio on the game is also really loud, and you’ll need to go into your phone’s settings to make it quieter, which isn’t so great for us parents with sensitive ears, but the developer assures me he’ll make the sound adjustable in the next update!

Maths Insider is giving away 3 free app store codes for Mathematis. To grab your free coupon code for Mathematis, email me at with the subject line “I want Mathematis”

I’ll pick 3 people at random after 9am GMT Wednesday 12th June 2013.  

Competition now closed. Congratulations to Ada, Chloe and Maryam who won a free app store code each for Mathematis!

How to Pay Off One Trillion Dollars – Math Video


Caught my 12 and 13 year old’s watching this cool math video last week titled How to Pay Off One Trillion Dollars and had to share it with you!

head squeeze you tube math

I’ve written recently about Fab Math and Science You Tube Channels which keep me away from the cooking and my kids away from their homework! The Head Squeeze Channel’s Number Hub episodes (released every Tuesday) are math videos that definitely present math in a fun and interesting way for pre-teens, teens and adults.

Check the Trillion Dollars video out below:


Say “Thank You” With One of These 13 Marvelous Math Teacher Gifts

Whether it’s your child’s math teacher, math tutor or Kumon instructor who has helped build a love of math in your child, sometimes you’ll want to say thanks by buying your child’s math mentor a gift. When I did my stint at the whiteboard teaching math to 11 to 18 year olds, my students would often give me scarves as gifts since they knew I loved wearing scarves with unusual designs, but I also loved the mathy gifts I was given!

If you’re stuck for math teacher gift ideas, check out these 13 marvelous math teacher gifts, suitable as a holiday gift, an end of year gift or an “I just want to say, “Thank You”” gift.

math teacher gifts

Mathematical Formulas Mug$16.95

This mug is great for catching out other teacher’s who steal your mug, or at the very least a cool statement of math love (especially if your math teacher actually understands all these equations!) Featuring the Theory of Relativity formula and 19 other formulae to make even the most part-time mathematician look smart!

Pi Symbol Ice Cube Tray $9.95

It was a close tie between this Pi ice cube tray, a Pi baking mold, and a Pi cookie cutter, but the “coolness” of this gift combined with the fact that everyone, not only those who love baking, will love making Pi ice in this silicon ice cube tray.

 3 Pi Pewter Earrings $24.99

These handmade Pi pewter earrings get great reviews on Amazon. Customers talk about not only how cool they look, but also vouch that they’re high quality. They are also small (0.5 inches) which helps math fans make  a subtle statement.

Abacus Keychain $9.95

For a nice discreet gift, take a look at this metal Abacus Keychain. Math teachers can use this for keys or as an ornament for that bag full of math papers that need to be marked by tomorrow.

Set Square and Protractor Cufflinks  $24.95

If geometry has been at the forefront of your child’s math learning this year, these metal, chrome finished cufflinks will make a great gift.  The cufflinks come in a small velveteen gift box.

Math Number & Symbol Soap – Handcrafted in the USA $10

These  multicolored number and symbol soaps are a cute gift for a math or elementary teacher. The 14 soaps come in a gift wrapped, reusable galvanized tub, are hypoallergenic and haven’t been tested on animals.

Math Teacher Gifts Weapons of Math Instruction Refrigerator Magnet $4.99

Fridge magnets are a great value gift. This humorous fridge magnet features math formulae, math expressions and math equipment. It also has a glass-like finish embedded with UV protection to protect against fading.

Keep Calm And Teach Math Coffee Mug Teacher Appreciation $6.99

This 11oz ceramic mug features a nice reminder (printed on both sides) for math teachers for when the going gets tough in class. This “Keep Calm” mug is both dishwasher and microwave safe.

Keep Calm And Love Math, iPhone 5 Premium Hard Plastic Case $6.99

Yet another “Keep Calm” product (yes, as a mom of 4, I am a fan of these!) This black iPhone 5 case has an aluminum outer shell coated with a crystal enamel.

 10 Mathematical Pi Symbol Pie Plate  $39.99

A higher priced, high quality gift features rather a lot of the digits of Pi. This 10″ stoneware Pi plate is microwave, dishwasher and also oven safe, so can actually be used to bake pies!

11 Möbius Swirl Napkin Rings (set of 4) $39.99

Based on the cool one sided math shape, these napkin rings are a classy gift. Made from polished nickel and designed by a German artist, the Möbius Napkins come ready packed in a gift box.

12 Teacher Neckties E=MC²  $14.95

This quirky necktie is one of a range of neckties especially designed for school teachers. The math teacher necktie features E=mc² along with various math and science symbols and equations.

13 Science/Math Coffee Gift Basket  $44.99

The whole class loves your child’s math teacher? Try collecting gift money from other families and use the money to by this lovely gift basket. The gift basket is made up of a huge 15oz mug, 4 soft coasters, 5 – small bags of gourmet coffee and a Biscotti cookie. Yum!

For more marvelous math gifts check out The Maths Insider Ultimate Gift Guide AND 12 Cool and Quirky Math Teacher Gifts

7 iPad Apps to Help Your Child Crush Their Times Tables

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When it comes to the times tables there are lots of different ways of learning them – through songs, videos, board games and of course, through tablet apps. The key to speedy stress free learning is to practise them often until they become fixed in your child’s head, like the names of all the characters in Phineas and Ferb or the latest One Direction lyrics. For the iPad generation, a few minutes a day on a times tables app could be all they need to fix the multiplication facts in their heads.

Check out the guest post by Ken Myers below to find out the latest and coolest times tables apps for the iPad to help your child crush their times tables:

 This is a guest post by Ken Myers

When using an iPad, children would rather be entertained than be faced with grueling schoolwork. Although tablets are a tool, children see them more as a fun, touch-screen device that connects them to a variety of entertainment. Why not give them what they seek while providing an education? If they can be engaged on an educational level without it seeming like it’s related to school, there’s a far better chance that the iPad can be used for more than just watching movies and playing games.

1. MathBoard – $4.99
In the old style of chalkboards and erasers, MathBoard creates an interactive learning tool that will help children with problem solving abilities. Questions are generated by the students level of skill and supports a quick reference guide in order to look up terms and rules of mathematics with ease. Plug the iPad into VGA or HDMI inputs in order to create a large viewing experience of the blackboard for further engagement.

2. Math vs. Zombies – Free
As the world embraces the zombie apocalypse, why not use your mathematical skills to save humanity? Math vs. Zombies takes the genre and puts the battle for survival in the hands of children. Equations are adaptive of the user’s skill level and will alter the game accordingly.

3. Hyperblast 2 HD – $4.99

In this action-packed mathematical adventure, students use their math skills in order to advance levels and defeat bosses. With good graphics and a fast-paced plot, children will forget that it’s actually an educational tool. Although the app itself is free to play, you will need to purchase the full version in order to access the multiplication areas as with the other disciplines.

The Maths Insider Guide to the Best Parent - Tested Math Products

4. Mathmateer – Free
In Mathmateer, children are rocketed into space in order to improve mathematical skills with shapes, coins, and more. More than 50 missions styles exist ranging from multiplication to defining exact shapes and objects. Children can customize their rockets to add more individuality as they practice a variety of mathematical equations.

5. Multiplication Genius x19 – Free
This Multiplication study app has a nice design to it and can continue to progress your child in a never ending continuance of drills – providing they keep their score perfect. With varying degrees of difficulty, Multiplication Genius x19 provides a study aid for everyone to memorize times tables.

6. ST Math: School Version – Free
Many school districts have deployed the fun and engaging web-based application of ST Math. Now, your student is able to utilize this great mathematical tool on the iPad. The student progression is synchronized across the ST Math network and will correctly keep your kindergarten through 5th grade student scores across all devices used.

3D math racing

7. 3D Math Racing -$0-99 
This fast paced game will keep your children speeding through problems as they attempt to cross the checkered line. Using mathematical equations, the child advances in the race. While the free version encompass the four major math proficiencies, the purchased app takes the knowledge further with questions like percentages, rounding, and odd-even.

Tablets can do far more for the household than provide a diversion for the children or browse the Internet. A vast ocean of apps tailored for a variety of home-based efficiency exists. Everything from education to shopping lists can be downloaded and utilized on the iPad. Why not see what else the device can do for you and your family?

About the Author:

Ken Myers is an expert advisor on in-home care & related family safety issues to many websites and groups. He is a regular contributor to You can get in touch with him at

The Maths Insider Guide to the Best Parent - Tested Math Products

Listen Up! 8 Fascinating Podcasts to Spark a Love of Math in your Teen

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I’ve calculated that I spend around 14 hours a week in my car, with school runs, and shipping my kids to after school activities. During these trips, we spend a lot of time chatting (If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?) and also a little time  staring at the traffic out of the window as well as a lot of time bickering.

One of my favorite in-car activities when I’m on my own in the car is listening to podcasts. I’ve even spent a few dollars and bought the amazing Downcast app so I can easily search, arrange, queue, and play my favorite podcasts. It’s way better than the built in podcast app on my iPhone and is well worth the $1.99.

As well as the Freakonomics podcast which almost always gets played as soon as it’s released and is popular with my teen and preteen as well, we also love the How to Do Everything podcast. I’ve only been listening intensively to podcasts for the past few months and as with any new hobby, I can’t help thinking, “Everyone should be doing this!”

Listening to podcasts is a great way of taking in new information and taking a fresh look at old information for anyone with a busy lifestyle, like parents and teens. So whether you’re a fellow podcast fan or have yet to discover this cool way of filling in dead time; here’s a list of 8 fascinating podcasts to help spark a love of math in your teen:


Photo courtesy of Olly Hart

Freakonomics Radio

In their books “Freakonomics” and “SuperFreakonomics,” Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner explore “the hidden side of everything,” with stories about cheating schoolteachers, self-dealing real-estate agents, and crack-selling mama’s boys. The Freakonomics Radio podcast, hosted by Dubner, carries on that tradition with weekly episodes. Prepare to be enlightened, engaged, perhaps enraged, and definitely surprised.

This is my favorite podcast of all. The mix of statistics and economics and psychology brought to life by the 2 Steve’s makes this a must listen-to podcast series. Episodes range from just a few minutes long to up to an hour, but the professional editing and storytellinh=g makes those minutes whizz through in a flash.

Maths Insider pick: Women Are Not Men

Equality of the sexes has long been a goal, and in many ways that goal is being met. But, as you’ll hear on this program, the variance between men and women on some dimensions is still large. … We’re not trying to start any arguments. We’re just trying to look at the data that show differences between men and women to figure out why those differences exist, and how meaningful they are.

Math Dude Quick and Dirty Tips

The Math Dude’s Quick and Dirty Tips to Make Math Easier seeks to undo those years of classroom pain and suffering. Find tips and tricks to make math fun—and useful—again.

Part of the Quick and Dirty Tips team which includes my other favorites, The Get Fit Guy and The Mighty Mommy, The Math Dude unravels the mysteries of math in these short podcasts. (each episode is usually less than 10 minutes long)As a teacher and mathematician Jason Marshall holds the listener’s hand as he cuts through the math jargon.

Maths Insider pick: How to Use Percentages to Easily Calculate Tips

Learn the power of ten percent to easily calculate the tip next time you visit your favorite restaurant.


More or Less: Behind the Stats

Tim Harford investigates numbers in the news. Numbers are used in every area of public debate. But are they always reliable? Tim and the More or Less team try to make sense of the statistics which surround us.

More or Less is another podcast which I love listening to with my 13 and 12 year olds. It’s made by the BBC which as an expat Brit reminds me of home. Highlighting the way in which math and statistics can be used and misused, each episode will leave you with a great talking point as to why the statistics you’ve heard recently in the news may not be all they seem.

Maths Insider pick: Are there more black men in college or prison in the US?

Only last week Ivory Toldson heard the speaker say there are more black men in prison in America than in college. ‘Here we go again’ he thought. Only the week before he had written his second article on why this statistic is not true. This week Ruth Alexander looks at where this ‘fact’ came from and why it is still being used.

Math Mutation

Welcome to Math Mutation, a podcast where we discuss fun, interesting, or just plain wierd corners of mathematics that you would not have heard in school.

I only came across this podcast while rearching this post, but it’s such a nice little podcast that I’ve added it to my Downcast podcast list. An independent podcast presented by engineer and teacher, Erik Seligman, these 5 minute podcast episodes are a mix and myth-busting and math, with some jokes thrown in.

Maths Insider pick: Perfect Maps

The various complications in creating 1 to 1 scale maps.

perfect maps podcast episode

Travels in a Mathematical World

Travels in a Mathematical World is a mathematics (or maths or math, if you like) podcast by Peter Rowlett, Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, featuring mathematicians talking about their work as well as features on maths history and maths news.

Peter Rowlett has taken a break from making these podcasts for the time being, but there’s plenty of cool episodes in the back catalogue to entertain anyone with even a small amount of interest in mathematics. I really like the short interviews with real-life mathematicians explaining how they use math in their careers.

Maths Insider pick: Interview with Sarah Norton – Systems Engineer

Sarah Norton talks about her work in systems engineering and a specific application for fire engines responding to mobile phone emergency calls.

Inspired by Math!

As the blogger at Wild About Math! Sol Lederman interviews people who are inspired by math and are inspiring others.

When I first started Maths Insider nearly 3 years ago, Sol Lederman was kind enough to publish my guest post (Sneaking Math Into Children’s Diets) on his wildly popular Wild About Math! blog. Sol interviews a variety of folks who in one way or another are helping to dispel the idea that math is a difficult and boring subject.

Maths Insider pick: Leila Schneps & Coralie Colmez

An interview with the mother-daughter team who authored “Math on Trial: How Numbers Get Used and Abused in the Courtroom.”  Talking about inspiration for writing the book, flaws in mathematical thinking, how justice is derailed by bad math in the courtroom, a number of examples of cases from the book, and more.

Pop-Up Economics

Economist Tim Harford weaves together economic ideas with some remarkable personal histories, telling short stories about fascinating people in front of a live audience in some unusual locations.

Another cool BBC podcast, this time linking math, economics and really interesting storytelling. These 10 minute episodes are great for teens and adults alike as the relate how individuals have made use of math to achieve some fascinating results.

Maths Insider pick: The day the geeks took over poker 

The story of Chris Ferguson who applied game theory to poker and won. Big time. But, as Ferguson would find out, there’s always a bigger game.

A Brief History of Maths

Professor Marcus du Sautoy argues that mathematics is the driving force behind modern science. Ten fifteen minute podcasts that reveal the personalities behind the calculations from Newton to the present day. How do these masters of abstraction find a role in the real world?

These stand alone episodes  take a peak inside the lives of some of the most notable mathematicians through history. Sit back and listen to Professor Marcus du Sautoy and his guests tell the stories behind these famous mathematicians including how they started on their path to math greatness and how they overcame the obstacles they faced.

Maths Insider pick: Evariste Galois

Professor Marcus du Sautoy on his favourite mathematician, an angry, young genius who did his best maths in prison and died in a duel, aged 20.

Do you listen to podcasts? Have you listened to any math related podcasts recently? Which are your favorites?


Why Kids Should Care About Math: 3 Unlikely Careers that Use Math Skills


This is a guest post by Susan Cumberland, owner of School is Easy Tutoring in Vancouver

Not all careers require extensive math study, however, most careers do utilize basic math skills everyday.

If your child doesn’t care about math and wonders why it is important for them to learn math at school or with a tutor, here are 3 unlikely professions that use math skills that could help your child start to care about math. After reading this, they just might be motivated to learn after all.

Maybe your child wants to be a fashion designer, a chef, or a racecar driver? They will be surprised to see that these three professions use math all the time.

Math for the fashion designer:

Fashion design math

Anyone who has ever done a sewing project knows how important measurements are. Without the proper measurements or with the slightest inconsistency, the finished product will not fit properly or will look poorly made. When designing a garment you have to take into account the width of the seams and make sure you cut enough fabric to allot for the seams, so that it is the perfect size once it is all sewn together.

If your child fantasizes about becoming a famous fashion designer consider doing a sewing project together. Let them learn just how important the proper calculations are. First you need to calculate how much fabric you will need for your project. Fabric is measured in yards, so they need to know how many feet or meters are in a yard. Then they will need to take measurements of the person or the mannequin to determine the final size of the garment. Then they need to add 5/8” to each side of each piece of material for the seam allowance.

If they are impatient and just want to do the project without calculating, then let them try and see how it turns out. Once they see that the final product doesn’t fit or they don’t even have enough material to finish their project, then they will truly value the importance of math.

Math for the chef:

chef math

Whether you are restaurant chef, a pastry chef or an at home cook you will find that math skills are very useful in the kitchen.  When buying ingredients you need to calculate how much of each ingredient you will need and how much it will cost. For a pastry chef in a bakery, if someone calls in an order for 500 cupcakes, you need to know how much extra flour, sugar, eggs etc. you will need in order to make 500 additional cupcakes.

You also need to calculate how many batches of cupcakes there will be and how many ovens you have, in order to determine how long it will take to bake all of the cupcakes. These math skills are all important so you can have the order ready in time for the customer to pick up.

To emphasize the importance of math for your child who wants to be a chef, why not let them plan a special dinner for friends and family. When cooking or baking for a larger group of people, recipes need to be adjusted. Your child will need to learn how to double a recipe (multiply 2/3 of a cup by 2 to get 1 1/3 cups) or convert from grams to ounces and pounds.

They should establish a budget for the meal.  If they invite five guests, then they need to calculate how much of each ingredient is needed for each item of the meal. Help them to do the calculations on a piece of paper and then make a grocery list with the final item quantities and prices.

Once they go to the grocery store they will have to figure out what adjustments will need to be made in order to prepare the dinner within their budget. They could also prepare a menu with the meal prices so they can see how much of a profit would be made after subtracting the cost to prepare the meal. As a bonus question they could also calculate the tip that guests would need to pay the server.

Math for the race car driver:

Ford Fiesta RS WRC (2011)

Race car driving doesn’t seem like a career that utilizes math. However, race car drivers are constantly doing mental math, even when they are in motion on the racetrack.  A race car driver needs to be able to calculate their speed in relation to the degree of the curve in the race track in order to know how much to slow down and how much to turn the wheel. These calculations are necessary in order for the driver to maintain their lead in the race and also to ensure their own safety.

They also need to calculate how much gas is being used while driving certain speeds so they will know how many gallons are left in their tank and when they need to take a pit stop to refill the gas tank. Using this type of math keeps race car drivers safe, prevents the car from running out of gas in the middle of a race and helps them win first place.  Who knew that math would be so useful for a race car driver?

The book How Race Car Drivers Use Math? is for students who are between the ages of 7 and 11.  It shows how race car drivers use math as an everyday tool.

These are just three unlikely careers that use math, but there are many more.  Whatever career goal your child has, there are ways to show them the importance of using math skills for those types of jobs as well.  Your child may even have fun during the learning process!

 About the Author:

Susan Cumberland has a Masters of Education in Educational Leadership and Counselling, Bachelor of Secondary Education and has won many entrepreneurial awards including ‘Entrepreneur of the Year.’

She is currently the owner of one of the largest tutoring companies in Vancouver, B.C., School is Easy Tutoring. Her company offers tutors in Vancouver for all subjects (grades 1 -12), including languages, Special Education, Exam preparation and Study Skills.

For more about math careers check out the post: 10 Seriously Cool Careers That Need Math

The Ultimate Kumon Review Without the Kindle Worry


Yesterday was a busy day.

At the start of the day, I knew I had to drop my 4 kids at 2 different schools 20-rush-hour-traffic-on-the-highway-minutes apart from each other. But that was usual for a Monday morning, and although the school bus would normally be kind enough to drop the older 2 home, I knew that my daughter really wanted to play in her soccer match another 15 -rush-hour-traffic-on-the-highway-minutes, after school, with all the younger kids in tow.

I was mentally prepared.

Except when aforemenentioned daughter announces half way into our 20-rush-hour-traffic-on-the-highway-minutes journey, that she left her Chemistry book at home and REALLY needs it. Well there’s no turning back, and since she had the good grace to bring home an A in Chemistry in her mid year school report last week, I silently wept as I mentally crossed off an hour of “me time” from my morning calendar.

The 3 different times for the afternoon pick up went well and I even managed to deprive my kids of Mr HotDog by quickly throwing together a chicken pasta bake for them to eat out of plastic containers in the car on the 15 -rush-hour-traffic-on-the-highway-minutes after school journey t0 the soccer pitch.

I survived the day, her team won the match, and we got home in time to get the little two to bed at a later, but still decent hour. But it wasn’t the kind of day where I would have had time to sit down and research the family holiday, or how to support my kids weaknesses, or do a workout or any of the other gazillion things that busy parents need to do.

And I know that a lot of parents want to buy The Ultimate Kumon Review but don’t have the Kindle App on their iPhone, Android phone, tablet, or computer and were having one of those day’s, week’s, year’s where it just was not going to happen.

So since today is a much quieter day, I’ve finally put The Ultimate Kumon Review for sale as a PDF copy that you can read instantly (or save it for later) on any device. It’s exactly the same as the Kindle version and it costs the same $2.99 (or whatever that converts to in your currency). Here’s a screenshot of what one amazon customer had to say about the book.

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If you want to join the over 400 people (yes, I also finally got round to totalling my sales as well) who’ve used The Ultimate Kumon Review to help them decide if the Kumon program is right for their child, then of course you can still click through to buy the Kindle version on the Kindle Bookstore or the Kindle Bookstore or if you don’t have the mental energy to figure this whole Kindle thing out, you can now buy a PDF version of The Ultimate Kumon Review directly from Maths Insider which you can read on your phone, tablet, laptop, desktop without needing any extra software.

That’s one more thing you can cross off your to-do list.

Can You Pass The Maths Test For Teachers?


This is a guest post by Adrian Beckett,  maths tutor extraordinaire

A background to the QTS Skills Test

The The Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) Numeracy Skills Test is a scary test that all trainee teachers in the UK have to pass before applying for any teacher training course, even if they want to train to teach 5 year olds.  Budding teachers dread it. Passing the test can mean the difference between pursuing their dream of becoming a teacher and NOT.   Our goal at Adrian Beckett Tutors is to enthuse these intrepid teachers with our passion for Maths.

So what’s this test all about?  And if I’m a parent why should I read on?.

QTS Example Numeracy Question for aspiring UK teachers


It’s a test that has 2 sections:  mental arithmetic and interpreting and using statistical information. In the mental maths section, you have 18 seconds to answer a spoken question.  Many adults find this very difficult to do.  You should read on if you’d like to improve your mental maths or if you are a trainee teacher and need to pass this test.

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QTS Example Numeracy Question for aspiring UK teachers


What does Adrian Beckett and his gang of Maths tutors ( want?



In this post, I’m going to give teachers and parents alike, strategies for rocking at Mental Maths.  The strategies I’ll give you are based on the way children learn maths intuitively at primary/elementary school.

How to Learn the Times Tables

Over and over, children are told to learn their times tables by memory.  Look – don’t get me wrong, you need to know your times tables quickly but when you are starting out –  memorizing is not the answer.  Faced with 100 facts to learn, it can be overwhelming.

The 2’s – I bet you know these because you know how to double and half  numbers.

The 10’s – add a zero.  E.g 7 x 10 = 70.  Easy.  Right!

The 5’s.  You know your 10’s. E.g 8 x 10 = 80 so 8 x 5 is half of 80 = 40

The 3’s.  If you are going to memorize any timestables, memorise this one.

The 4’s.  Double 2 is 4 so if you have 4 x 8.  Do 2 x 8 = 16.  Double it.  You have your answer.  You could also use building blocks

The 9’s. e.g 8 x 9.  Swich it – 9 x 8.  So 10 x 8 = 80 and take away 8 = 72.

For the rest of the times tables, use building blocks.  6, 7 and 8 are the hardest timestables and when you are panicking, having some sort of support can be reassuring.  Memorisation is no good for those panicky moments.

Check this slide out to see what I mean. Your building blocks are the 5 and 10 times tables.

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If you want to do 6 x7, do 5 x 7 = 35 and then add one 7 because you’ve done 5 sevens but you need 6 sevens.   35 + 7 = 42.

If you want to do 9 x 7, do 10 x 7 = 70 and then subtract 7 = 63

If you want to do 8 x 7, do 5 x 7 = 35 and add 3 x 7 = 21 and then add the two, 35 + 21 = 56.  Ok, that’s not so easy you might like to memorise this one.

Another trick is to remember the square numbers.

6 x 6 = 36

7 x 7 = 49

8 x 8 = 64

If you want to know 7 x  6 then you have 36 and add 6 = 42.

Some people find songs and rhymes such as I was sick and sick on the floor, 8 x 8 is 64.  You can try this too.

If you’re interested in reading more please about how to become a mental maths whizz and pass the UK trainee teacher numeracy test, go here: TDA QTS Skills Test Tutor . See you on the other side!

Adrian Beckett and his band of London Maths Tutors offer maths tuition for students and workshops for maths teachers. They also blog about maths learning for chikdren and adults, those all important maths exams and dyscalculia at


Another 10 Seriously Cool Jobs That Need Math!


A great way to help your child build a love of math is to point out some of the cool jobs and careers that need math. I’ve found that even though my daughter may not love math, she knows that the careers that she’s interested in would need a good level of math knowledge, which I’m sure is in the back of her mind when she’s trudging through her math homework.



The tech website published a seriously cool article last week with 10 amazing jobs that can be landed with the right STEM (science, technology and math) education. The list included mini interviews with a Lego Designer who uses her knowledge of electrical engineering to animate lego models, a Sports Channel Statistician who builds mathematical model to analyze sports performance and a Professional Hacker.

Check out the full article here:


10 Amazing Jobs You Could Land With the Right STEM Education


Even more math related jobs:

For more seriously math related jobs, I’ve written a few posts here on Maths Insider:

21 Seriously Cool Careers That Need Math

10 Seriously Cool Careers That Need Math

You’ll Need Math For That! 13 More Seriously Cool Jobs That Use Math

Chris Hadfield's pic taken from space

Chris Hadfield’s picture of a high altitude cloud taken from space

The coolest math career

One of the coolest jobs that need needs math is being an astronaut. There’s a great thread on I Am Astronaut Chris Hadfield, currently orbiting planet Earth where he talks about the importance of kids working hard at math if they want to one day become an astronaut! It’s definitely worth checking out! Enjoy!


Have You Seen These 10 Fab Science and Math You Tube Channels?


These days my 2 older kids (aged 11 and 13), come home from school, grab some food from the pot (if I’ve been organized!), some fruit from the fridge or put some bread in the toaster. They then sit down at the breakfast bar, open up You Tube on the the kitchen computer and watch a few science videos. If  I’m in the kitchen, I’ll usually get drawn in and start watching some video about whether zero is an even number, or what’s the longest straw that a person can suck a drink from or some other piece of coolness related to science, technology or medicine (STEM)

You Tube scienceWhat’s interesting is that my kids are perfectly happy to watch a science video even if it doesn’t have fancy graphics or special effects, as long as the topic is interesting. Most of these videos are relatively short (3-15 minutes) so they’re perfect for a quick before/after school bite of science. I highly recommend these You Tube Channels to pre-teens and teens, but even my 6 year old has been known to insist that a video is restarted, so that he can find out about an interesting bit of science.

So in no particular order, here’s my Top 10 Science and Math You Tube Channels, along with their tag line, my short description and my current favorite video from each channel. Enjoy!

(If you’re reading this post in your inbox, click here to see it in your browser and to see the videos below)

1. Numberphile

About Numberphile: Videos about numbers – it’s that simple. Videos by Brady Haran

I love the way that Brady Haran and his team of mathematicians bring out the beauty of mathematics. These videos don’t use fancy video techniques but you’ll love the enthusiasm of the presenters as they reveal fascinating examples of how numbers and math contribute to the world. Many of the concepts use higher level math, but even if you don’t understand the math (I don’t always) you can’t fail to be drawn into their mathematical world.

2. VSauce

About Vsauce: Our World is Amazing. Subscribe for Mind-Blowing Facts & The Best of the Internet

Without wanting to have favorites, VSauce is actually one of the channels on this list that I do watch every week. Michael from VSauce has a great way of starting off with a really interesting question such as “Why is Yawning Contagious, giving you the answer, but also bringing in lots of other related ideas that make you think literally, “That was cool!” VSauce videos have plenty of cool graphics to keep even the most distracted viewer entranced.

3. Brusspup

About brusspup: Optical illusions, Science and more!

Featuring some of the coolest optical illusions on the internet, Brusspup short videos tease the viewer by showing you the reality behind the illusions. These videos are a great way of introducing arty students to the way in which science and art are inter-linked.


4. SciShow

About SciShow: Where the science goes.

Another favorite here. Whether it’s the fast talking or expressive hand gestures of the presenter, or the fast graphics, or just the way that SciShow asks and answers the questions that everyone wants to know, SciShow has become one of the most popular science based You Tube channels. Check it out and soon you’ll get sucked in too!


5. TedEd

About TED-Ed: TED’s education initiative, is an online library of short, captivating videos that engage inquisitive learners all over the world.

TedEd, is the educational side of the TED (ideas worth talking about) franchise. Featuring videos across the whole of the school curriculum from arts to science/math to humanities, these often animated videos are tailor made for school students. The videos are from a variety of educators, each sharing their own unique view of a particular aspect of their field. You can check out some math specific TED Ed talks in my post: 9 Ted Talks to Get Your Teen Excited about Math.

6. Minute Physics

About MinutePhysics: Simply put: cool physics and other sweet science.- “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”~Rutherford via Einstein? (wikiquote)

Short videos highlighting small snippets of Physics (and math) using basic but quirky animation. Some high level concepts are covered but the videos, created by Henry Reich, never fail to entertain.

7. ViHart

About Vi Hart: I’m a professional mathemusician at Khan Academy

Now working with Salman Khan at Khan Academy, Vi Hart is a favorite of math lovers everywhere. Her quick and beautifully drawn doodles highlight some of the cooler math concepts, while Vi’s friendly but speedy voiceover is a perfect way to demonstrate the excitement of the math she’s sharing. Don’t worry, you won’t understand everything she talks about but you’ll definitely be impressed by the math!

8. Smarter Everyday

About Smarter Every Day: I explore the world using science. That’s pretty much all there is to it. Watch 2 videos. If you learn something AWESOME, subscribe.

In the presenter’s own words “The goal is simple. Instead of just setting money aside for my 3 kids’ college fund, I spend it on making videos to educate the masses. Any donations I receive or revenue from the videos then becomes the college fund. This makes me more aggressive at saving for their college, and EVERYBODY GETS TO LEARN!” If your kids like science experiments, they’ll love Smarter Every Day.

9. Veritasium

About Veritasium: The science video blog from atoms to astrophysics!

More cool questions and more science experiments. Veritasium brings you the experiments behind the science and gives the viewer a cool insight into how scientists test out their theories. The video below is a great example of how Derek is able to make viewers care about the results of the experiments, and laugh as they watch along.




10. Periodic Table of Videos

About Periodic Table of Videos: Your ultimate channel for all things chemistry. A video about each element on the periodic table. And we upload new videos every week about science news, interesting molecules and other stuff from the world of chemistry. 

Focusing on chemistry and the elements of the Periodic Table, this channel features professors from Nottingham University sharing some of the more fascinating areas of chemistry. Even though chemistry is my least favorite of the sciences, I’m happy to sit in front of the Periodic Table of Videos and brush up on my chemistry knowledge.

You Tube is great place to find cool and professionally produced science videos. Subscribe to your favorite of the channels above to have science facts and explanations on hand for a a dose of science entertainment each week.