Every child leaving primary school needs to know their number facts at least up to 10 + 10, 20 – 10, 10 x 10, and 100 ÷ 10. This is often done by asking children to learn off tables such as

7 + 0 = 7

7 + 1 = 8

7 + 2 = 9

7 + 3 = 10

7 + 4 = 11 and so on.

Learning off number facts in such tables works well for some children, but not for all. Stanislas Dehaene, author of *The Number sense: How the Mind Creates Mathematics* compares excerpts from addition and multiplication tables to the following groups of sentences to show how similar some of the tables can sound and how difficult they can be to learn off.

“Charlie David lives on George Avenue

Charlie George lives on Albert Zoe Avenue

George Ernie lives on Albert Bruno Avenue”

and

“Charlie David works on Albert Bruno Avenue

Charlie George works on Bruno Albert Avenue

George Ernie works on Charlie Ernie Avenue.” Continue reading