Want to learn your times tables? We recommend the 3 x 5 method

3 minutes of questions a day. 5 times a week. That’s all it takes to master your times tables quickly with the Edplus app.

Have you eaten your 5 fruit and vegetables today? Have you taken your 10,000 steps? Did you get 8 hours’ sleep? There are many things that work best if we complete them regularly and in moderation.

Binge eating spinach one day and filling up with junk food for the rest of the week isn’t a very healthy way to stock up on fibre and vitamins. Equally, running for half an hour then sitting in a chair for the rest of the week won’t do much for your fitness. As for stockpiling sleep, don’t even try – adults need about 56 hours a week, but it simply won’t work to cram them all into a long weekend!

Our minds are not so different. When it comes to learning times tables or any facts or skills that require long term retention in our memory, it’s better to practice little and often – spacing our learning exercises out.

Cramming or other intensive approaches to absorbing information might work in the very short term, but the benefits will vanish after a couple of days if you don’t persist. Establishing good habits is essential. And the earlier we adopt them the better.

This is why Edplus has introduced a 3 x 5 daily challenge feature to its apps.

 

What is the 3 x 5 daily challenge?

The Edplus 3 x 5 daily challenge is a fun and easy way for kids to develop good learning habits. It’s simple – they just have to do their best answering questions over 3 minutes.  The goal is to do this five times a week. That’s it.

If they complete the challenge they earn surprises and bonus points. These can be used to unlock and play fun games on our app. And parents will see the benefits on their kid’s progress charts.

Why should your child take the challenge?

 

We learn better if we do so little and often

Since Ebbinghaus’ work on the science of memory and forgetting in the 1880s, numerous studies have shown that spaced practice or repetition is the best way to memorise information and commit it to your long-term memory.

To REALLY learn it to the point where you almost don’t need to actively think about it. This means it’s better to leave a gap between learning sessions. It’s good to sleep on it and to ensure your brain has to actively retrieve the information from memory rather than still having it fresh in your thoughts.

While massed practice (i.e., learning a large amount of information in one session) might appear more effective than spaced practice in the very short term, spaced practice/spaced repetition produces durable long-term learning.

Children like routine…

The 3 x 5 daily challenge aims to make it as easy and frictionless as possible for them to achieve their goals. When something becomes a habit, and something we expect, we eventually do it without protest. One simple approach is to use the habit loop – cue, action, reward.

Cue – make a trigger, ideally at the same time every day. If your child signs up for the 3 x 5 challenge, you will receive a push notification suggesting a good time to start the challenge that suits your child (e.g. before breakfast, in the car on the way to school). Remove all distractions and obstacles – turn off the TV, give them food and drink first, give them the tablet or phone and that’s the cue to start.

 

Action – make it routine…this comprises two parts: little and often.

    • Keep it short. The 3 x 5 challenge takes only 3 minutes…less time than it takes to boil an egg or brew a cup of tea. About as long as it takes some children to decide what to eat for breakfast!
    • Keep going, don’t allow two days in a row to go by without doing your challenge. It happens sometimes that we genuinely don’t have time. That’s OK for once, but try to make sure it doesn’t happen twice in a row – the aim is to build a habit.

Reward – make it fun. Finally, and importantly, it’s vitally important that your child is rewarded. Eventually success will become its own reward but when trying to instill good habits in children, or anyone, it’s important to recognise their achievement. Whether it’s a high five, a hug or a silly dance, make sure you acknowledge what your child does in a positive way.

…and children also love surprises!

The Edplus 3 x 5 Challenge has surprise rewards for your child which vary from day to day, so part of the fun is finding out what that will be.

There are also a number of different ways your child can check their progress and aim to beat their previous best score…which is a reward in itself.

Don’t put it off until tomorrow, take the 3 x 5 daily challenge now. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!