Learning Times Tables – How Folding A Tape Measure Can Help

There are many ways you can help your children learn times tables, folding a tape measure is one of them.

In this post (and associated video) I use 3 × 5 = 15 as an example.

Tape Measure Folded In Fives

Here is a tape measure folded in fives, the folds are on 5, 10 and 15.

tapeMeasure3Times5_fivesSo 3 folds of size 5 get to 15.

The numbers run 1 to 5 left to right, 6 to 10 right to left and 11 to 15 left to right.

Tape Measure Folded In Threes


Here the folds are on 3, 6, 9, 12 and 15.

So 5 folds of size 3 also get to 15.

Snakes And Ladders


On a snakes and ladders board the numbers run from left to right and then right to left in alternate rows, just like the folded tape measure above.

Times Table Grid

At startingarithmetic.com/arithmetic/timesTables/timesTableGrid.html there is a times tables calculator grid which helps to explore times tables and can simulate the left to right, right to left “snake effect” seen when folding a tape measure.

The initial screen looks like this


Here is a video where I talk about tape measures, learning times tables and demonstrate this grid.  Note the grid features in the second part of the video.

Notes On Using The Times Tables Grid

The key to understanding how to use the grid is the text on the buttons shows what happens


So, if a button says “Snake On” it means the snake effect will be turned on when you click on  the button.  Which implies the snake effect is currently switched off.

The following table shows the text which may be shown on the different buttons.

countTo3 countTo5 countTo15
This button always stays the same as there is only one option


The “Count to” button shows 3, 5 and 15 as 3 × 5 = 15 is being used in this example
and is the default when you visit the web page.

The text on the “Count to” button cycles through 3 possible options.
In this example it starts with

  • Count to 3  (which means currently counting to 15).
  • Count to 5
  • Count to 15

You can type different numbers in the Rows and Cols boxes at the top left of the page, the grid will change when you

  • press enter or tab
  • or click the mouse outside the Rows or Cols box


Why not have a go, show your children and let me know how you got on.


This entry was posted in Multiplication, Numbers, Times Tables, Times Tables Games, Times Tables Grid and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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