Teaching multiplication goes beyond having children memorize multiplication tables. That said, knowing times tables builds math fluency and helps students with more complex calculations, estimation, and more.
Teaching multiplication strategies to try
From introducing multiplication to various ways to help students learn multiplication facts to plenty of practice to build fluency and use skills, this list has something for you.
Teaching multiplication with skip counting
One of the best ways to teach multiplication if you are just getting started is with skip counting. Skip counting is actually counting by multiples, so it is a foundation for multiplication. If students already know skip counting, this is an especially useful place to start as it builds on a learned skill and can start students off with more confidence.
Have students skip count by 2s. Write the numbers on the board (2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24). Under each number, write the multiplication version (2 × 1, 2 × 2, 2 × 3, etc.).
You can repeat this for other numbers that students can fluently skip count by. For example, you might want to cover 5 or 10 next. While we often move students through the times table in numerical order, helping students to see what they already know has benefit too.
Teaching multiplication with 3 times fact tools
Let’s talk about times tables and beyond.
- Times Tables—Give students their own copy of the multiplication table and have one handy to use daily. Play games looking for patterns, like the 1 column and the 1 row are the same, the 5 column/row counts up in 5s, (alternates 5 and 0 as the last number), the 2 row/column all even numbers. Or ask students to go to row 6, column 6 (or any other number) and share the number they find. The goal here is to help students see patterns that may help them learn the times tables, but also to just give additional practice and familiarity with it.
- Times Table Booklets—Students can make these times table booklets for whatever number they are trying to master. Creating the booklet will help them review facts and then they can use the booklet to help practice and memorize.
- Time Table Flowers—This is another tool students can make as part of the learning process and then use as a memory tool. Start with a circle in the center surrounded by a double row of 12 petals. Write the primary factor in the center circle. For example, if you are working on the 4s table, write 4 in the center. On the smaller, inner petals, write the secondary factors (each number from 1–12). On the larger, outer petals, write the product of the center number and the inner petal number.
Teaching multiplication with task cards
In my opinion, one of the best ways to teach multiplication is with task cards. Forget drill and kill with flashcards. Multiplication task cards help students learn their basic math facts while also working on the underlying concepts of multiplication.
Multiplication task cards help students recall and use times tables up to 12 x 12, multiply whole numbers by one digit numbers, multiply whole numbers by two digit numbers, use the halving and doubling strategy to solve equations, and determine an unknown whole number in a multiplication equation.
Task cards are also extremely versatile. Give students a task card as a morning math starter. Stock them in your math center for individual or small group work. Use them for informal assessment. They travel easily and can be sent home as homework.
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