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Broadbent Maths - creative primary maths

Using flip-flops to practice multiplication facts

Monday, 5 February 2018
Flip-Flops are a great resource for practising multiplication facts– simple to make and fun to use. I have had them as part of my maths kit for years (I think they first appeared in Number Work for Infants by Thomas and Bannister in 1974) and when I used them in a school recently the teacher had forgotten all about them, even though they had been one of her favourite resources in the past. So here’s a reminder.

These activities involve pupils counting in fives. 
Use the Hands Flip-Flop (download the pdf file below), with thumbs counted as fingers.

Fold the Flip-Flop in various ways to show different numbers of hands.

How many hands can you see?

How many fingers can you see?

How many hands can I see?

How many fingers are hidden?

hand flip flop

Let each pupil have their own Flip-Flop and play 'Show me' activities such as:

Show me four hands, seven hands, ten hands...

Show me thirty fingers, twenty-five fingers, ten fingers...

Show me twenty fingers. Now show me ten more.

Show me forty fingers. Now show me thirty less.

Work with a partner. Show me a total of seventy fingers.

Teaching tips:

• Crease each line of the squares backwards and forwards so they are easy to fold.

• Be creative and use Flip-Flops to count in 1s, 2s, 3s, 4s… by using different pictures in each square. The cherries flip-flop below is great for practising doubles.

• No need to laminate them, just make them from normal photocopiable paper and once they are torn or ripped they are easy to replace.

• It is amazing how long they last – I have one from the early 1990s!

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