Before looking at the 5 times table in detail, I wanted the boys to have a go working out a problem practically. On purpose, I didn’t tell them it was going to involve the 5 times table.


  • Pants and nappies
  • 100 bead string
  • Numicon
  • Base 10 set
  • Log slices with numbers and +, x and = written on


I challenged Ioan and Finny to work out how many pairs of pants they would all use over the space of 12 days.

Day 1

In the video above, they had already worked out that they would each need 1 pair of pants, but Cian would need 3 washable nappies. That meant there would be 5 pairs of pants to wash on the first day.

Day 2

They worked separately, so that they could each work out the answers independently. Ioan used the 100 bead string to demonstrate.

Day 3

Finny showed me how to use the Numicon to work out Days 1, 2 and 3.

Day 4

As you can see, these weren’t rehearsed videos, they were working it out as we went along. Ioan worked out that they would use 20 pairs of pants in 4 days.

Day 5

Finny worked out that by Day 5 they would be up to a total of 25 pants. This meant that 5×5=25.

Day 6

Ioan worked out that 6 days worth of pants would be 30.

Day 7

35 pair of pants on the seventh day.

Day 8

By the eighth day they needed 40 pair of pants.

Day 9

45 pairs of pants on Day 9.

Day 10

By Day 10, the number string was getting more fiddly to use. Ioan worked out that they would be up to 50 pairs of pants.

Day 11

We had run out of Numicon tens, so Finny used his number bonds to make the tens in different ways. He had 5 tens for his 50, then another 5 to make 55.

Day 12

On the twelfth day they were up to 60 pairs of pants.

We talked about what they had been learning. Ioan said counting in fives and Finny recognised it was the 5 times table.

The finished 5 times table:

DfES Outcomes for EYFS and National Curriculum (2013)

Numeracy Year 1 programme of study

Number – multiplication and division

  • solve one-step problems involving multiplication and division, by calculating the answer using concrete objects, pictorial representations and arrays with the support of the teacher.

Numeracy Year 2 programme of study

Number – multiplication and division

  • recall and use multiplication and division facts for 5 times table