Cirencester designer brings innovation to life to help primary school children with their times table

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A designer based in Cirencester has come up with a funky idea to help kids who are becoming increasingly uninspired by zoom learning.

The Flexitable folding times table grid is a physical item which embodies something practical and ‘hands-on’ to help children stay in touch – quite literally – with normality.

This simple yet effective device allows primary school children up to Year 7 to grasp the basics of addition, subtraction, multiplication and fractions.

Nigel Chute of Chute Design based in Cirencester has been involved with the development, manufacturing and commercialisation of new products since the 1980s.  Nigel’s specialism is making sure all these functions work together to meet the client’s business objective.

With the last lockdown and consequent school closures all the emphasis was on ‘online/remote’ learning with everything reduced down to the virtual world of phone and computer screens.

The original inventor was a teaching assistant who started with a basic prototype of her idea. Nigel took the concept through all the key steps of development, protection, sourcing a suitable manufacturer and ultimately finding the company who took up the rights under licence to make and sell the finished product.

When the schools closed in January 2021 this shut down the Flexitable’s main market overnight.  Nigel immediately suggested the company offer a ‘home kit’ to specifically aid parents who were struggling to once again manage home schooling.

Flexitables are tactile, flexible and perfect for teaching maths in a fun and innovative way. These are not standard numeracy charts and multiplication tables for children, but offer a low-tech approach to learning maths, and are effective as educational resources, as well as boosting key numeracy and math skills in children in an engaging way.

The Flexitable programme consists of several helpful numeracy charts which are printed on soft, flexible plastic. With a multiplication, addition, fractions / decimals, and numbers, these charts have horizontal and vertical channels, which allow kids to fold the charts again and again. These charts for learning numeracy skills have greater longevity than traditional card or paper products, and it is for this reason that Flexitables are so popular in education today. Manipulative numeracy charts have the added value of being fun as well as informative, and have proven to be an extremely effective way of teaching numeracy skills.