What is Mfacts121?

MFacts121 is a online resource for teaching and learning multiplication…and division too.

It provides a model for an effective and contemporary way to teach the multiplication facts. Our approach is not about rote learning or drill and practice alone. Rather, we offer a systematic approach, relying on conceptual understanding and strategy development, alongside practise. The ultimate aim is quick recall or swift calculation of the 121 multiplication facts (times tables), backed with solid understandings. This supports success with division too and we’ve got everything you need within our resource for exploring division also.

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The Mfacts121 Approach

Our resource works towards building number sense, conceptual understandings and strategies; all important parts of overall fluency development.

1) Concept: It’s vital to begin by expanding the student’s conceptual understanding of multiplication. The aim is to move on from a ‘groups of’ mentality to understanding ‘arrays’ as a model. Arrays help students visualise their flexible thinking strategies. All the lesson ideas and videos contained on our site make it really easy to get started on this.

2) Strategy: How can you you solve 6 x 4? We ask the students to share their thinking and ideas. We want to lead students to building up their bank of effective and flexible strategies. One example here would be: “I know 5 fours are 20 (5 x 4 = 20), so for 6 fours (6 x 4), I need to add one more group of 4. That’s 24”. We advocate the explicit teaching of particular strategies for multiplication, and also encourage students to come up with and explain their own, to help them build true fluency. It’s all laid out clearly on our site!

3) Practise: Fluency, rehearsal, practise….whichever terminology you use, it’s a vital step in achieving success! Growth Mindset is important here. We encourage students to understand that ‘they can grow their maths brain!’ The more time and effort they put in, the better the outcomes and the more satisfied they will feel! It helps that MFacts121 has divided the multiplication facts into four levels. Students can concentrate on one level at a time, to make their task more manageable. When practise occurs, alongside concept and strategy development, true outcomes are achieved. We believe fluency means more than just speed and accuracy- it’s about meaning too.

4) Quick recall or swift calculation: This is the goal! By explicitly teaching and exploring concepts and strategies, then guiding students through practising their facts, you will be giving students the best opportunity to achieve the ultimate outcome. Not only will they be able to master their basic multiplication facts, they will learn the ideas and strategies which are connected to other maths concepts. By following the Mfacts121 approach, you know that if a student’s memory fails them, they can use their mental strategies to calculate the answer swiftly.

5) Online monitoring and assessment: Students will practise working through their facts online. You can easily keep informed about how they are going. Students get online to practise and complete quizzes. They can view strategy videos and explore the multiplication concepts. When they have secured one level, it’s high-fives all round, then onto the next level!

Why Choose Mfacts121?

Mfacts121™ has been trialled and developed by real teachers (that’s us; Justine and Natalie!)

We were seeking improvements in our student’s understanding and recall of multiplication facts; after all, we knew just how important this was.

We have packaged our ideas up for you to use…your one-stop-shop for the teaching and learning of multiplication (and by association, division too!)

Our approach does not start and end with drill and practice alone. The ultimate goal is fast, automatic, recall of the 121 basic multiplication facts (times tables), but with the backing of conceptual understanding and strong mental strategies.

Never ask a child to memorise anything they couldn’t recreate through the use of an efficient mental strategy (A. McIntosh, 2008). Too true!

Mfacts121™ is a refinement of the best approaches. The ideas are time efficient, while making the biggest impact for students. Incorporate these ideas into your current classroom repertoire. Use them in your multiplication/division units and regularly as part of your tools/warm up sessions. Home users, it’s all here for you to follow at home too.

Mfacts121™ offers a full and thorough, yet easy to use, approach for time-poor teachers and supports parents and students at home too. Animated video clips demonstrate the concepts and strategies, to help you get on with the teaching and learning! The black-line masters for activities and games, are designed to be used and re-visited regularly, as part of ‘tools sessions’ or maths ‘warm ups’. In addition to this, we have provided sample Multiplication and Division units, for each senior year level.

The 121 basic multiplication facts (up to 10 x 10), are divided into four levels, no longer in tables format. These levels promote thinking skills and making connections among facts, whereas the tables format lends itself to learning sets of isolated facts.

Each student works at learning the facts within a level, then when secure, moves onto the next. The levels are colour coded; red, green, yellow and blue. An excellent inclusion in our resource is the online assessment function, so that students and teachers can monitor progress easily. This tool makes it easy for students to get online, have a go at a timed quiz and receive instant feedback.

There’s no silver bullet to learning the multiplication facts. It takes time, thought, attention and effort. We want our students to be flexible learners, with sound mental strategies to rely on. Some enthusiasm from students is required! Working through the four levels of facts provides motivation and satisfaction.

It also helps if parents can understand the contemporary approach (the current way to learn the traditional ‘times tables’). To help with this, we have a section on Home-School Partnerships.

We hope you discover that the Mfacts121 approach helps lead your students towards success with their multiplication facts!  Justine and Natalie

What you get…