Updated: Jun 16, 2020
My 6yo has learnt to count in 2s and is at the stage where multiplication tables are being introduced. I want him to really understand what his times tables mean so he isn't just chanting by rote. I’m obsessed that maths has meaning. We placed the multiples of 2 on a counting stick (you could just as easily do this along a stick or a broom handle ... Just any straight edge...). His task was to make a visual representation of the pattern.
We used Numicon in this picture but you could use counters or cubes or Lego (and there’s merit in repeating the activity with different resources so the child sees that the resource changes but the pattern remains). I then asked the simple, open-ended question ‘what do you notice?’ He and his sister too (who, at 8yo also spotted patterns she hadn’t expected to see) recorded their observations.
From this task of making a model of the multiplication table, my 6yo self-discovered that counting in 2s means we are adding groups of 2. He is a Numberblocks fan and could see the link with an episode he had watched about odd and even numbers - and Numicon reveals this really clearly. Next week he is exploring doubling - and his sister’s unexpected discovery about the line of symmetry in the 2s pattern was a timely and thought-provoking discussion to prepare for learning about this concept.