Make Your Own Learning Materials

This site provides free learning materials for you to download. You can amend our worksheets to suit your purposes if you have Microsoft Word or an equivalent, so you have a lot of flexibility.

But what happens if you need something that you can’t find here? Well, you could create your own learning materials. The hardest part is deciding what it is you need. Once you’ve done that, it’s usually an easy job to create something in Word.

Let’s take a look at the process you’ll follow using the multiplication grid worksheet as an example. Here, the purpose of the worksheet is to get the student to practise their times tables by filling in missing numbers. Grids are very useful for containing sequential numbers and they make it easy to remove the missing ones. They’re perfect for what we need. That’s the concept sorted out.

Now that we know what we’re doing, to create the physical worksheets all we need is Microsoft Word and a printer. We can use a table in Word to create the grid. Let’s create this one:

Multiplication Grid

To make this grid, we will need a table that has 5 rows and 4 columns. The only reason that this table looks like an irregular shape and not a square is that some of the table cells have had their borders removed. We’ll explore how to do that now.

Open up Word (we’re using Word 2010) and insert a table into your document by clicking Insert > Table, and click on the square that corresponds to the number of rows (5) and columns (4) that you need.

Create Your Own Learning Materials - Table

If the table that is inserted is anything like mine, the cells are two wide and not high enough.

A Table In Word

Click to enlarge

This is no good in its current state. We need to make each cell a perfect square. To do this, we will first of all select the table by clicking on the select table icon that appears at the top left corner of the table when we hover over it.

Select Table In Word

When you select the table, you should see the Table Tools tab appear in the ribbon and within that tab are the Design and Layout tabs. Click on the Layout tab. You should now see the Cell Size group half way along the ribbon. There are some input boxes here for the cell height and width. Because we have the whole table selected, any changes we make now will affect all cells in the table.

Let’s enter a width and height of 1cm and press Enter. It’s looking much better now that the table is a square, and we can type in the numbers we need into some of the cells. The only thing is that the alignment of the numbers in each cell isn’t quite right.

Misaligned Numbers In A Table

To rectify the situation, select the whole table as we did earlier and then click the Layout tab (in the Table Tools tab). In the Alignment group there is just the button we need: Align Centre. Click that and the contents of all table cells will be centred horizontally and vertically.

The numbers are a little small, so with the table still selected, we can bold them (press ctrl-b) and then make them larger by clicking Home > Font > Grow Font. The Grow Font button is here:

Grow Font In Word

Click that button a few times until the numbers are big enough. Now all we have to do is remove the borders from the cells that don’t need them. It’s actually easier to remove the borders from the whole table first and then add them back to cells that need them.

Select the whole table and click the Design tab (in Table Tools) > Table Styles > Borders (the arrow pointing down) > No Border. All borders are removed and the numbers look like they’re floating!

Don’t panic.

Select the first column of numbers by dragging over them. We now need to add to that selection by holding down ctrl on the keyboard and dragging over the row of numbers we need. If you get this wrong you’ll lose your initial selection. The best way I found of doing this was to drag leftwards from the far right of the row. When you have all the numbers selected like this:

Selected Numbers

… you really should consider quitting while you’re ahead and cracking open that bottle of wine! Unless you’re a trooper like me and can’t stop until the deed is done. In which case, follow me.

With the current selection, click on the borders button (the down arrow again) and select All Borders.

Select All Borders

This gives us precisely what we need:

Multiplication Grid

Now, where was that bottle of wine…