Teaching Multiplication Strategies

Hello darlings! Amy here from That Teaching Spark.  Multiplication is such a critical skill for third graders.  It is the foundation for many of the concepts students learn in fourth and fifth grade.  I always try to stress how important it is for kiddos to memorize their facts.  I assign xtramath.org to my students each night for homework.  It is a great fact fluency program that you should look into.

I wanted to share a few anchor charts I use when first introducing multiplication to my students.  We first discuss the purpose of multiplication.  I make sure to explain that it is simply repeated addition, but that it was created because adding the same number over and over again takes forever!  "Ain't nobody got time to add!"

Next, I teach them different strategies to solve multiplication problems.  I create an anchor chart and kiddos take notes to glue into their math journals.  I spend a few days on each strategy, but I eventually let them choose the one that works best for them.

In my district, kiddos also have to learn how to multiply 3 digit by 1 digit numbers.  We do this first with place value blocks and then once they understand the concept, we move onto the traditional algorithm.

The math game below can be used for 1 digit by 1 digit, or multiple numbers.  I have my students create our own classroom scavenger hunt game.

First we make snowmen. As you can tell from the pics below, I don't give them patterns.  I think they come out to be so much more unique when you just give kiddos construction paper and let them get creative.  Kind of like STEM but for art!

 Next, I have kiddos create a multiplication problem on the front.  They have to solve it, check it with a calculator, and write the answer on the back.  You will notice, one snowman has one problem and the other has 3 problems.  I gave students the option to create one problem or challenge themselves and create 3 problems.  Some kiddos like to challenge themselves.

 Then, each kiddo writes their secret agent number (student name order number) on the snowman and they choose a spot to go hang the snowman around the room.  They create a grid on their paper and number each box for the amount of students.

Finally, students walk around the room and try to solve as many problems as they can.  Before they go on to the next snowman, they check the answer.  If they were incorrect, they have to solve it again and find their mistake.  I have them write the mistake on the back of their sheet.  For example, "For number 7, I said 8x8 was 63, but it's 64."  This keeps kiddos accountable for fixing their mistakes and attending to precision the first time.

The reason I love this activity so much is because I didn't have to do a thing.  I gave my students all the responsibility and they were excited to be the ones to create problems for their classmates.  We have to work smarter, not harder.  The kiddos are the ones who should be going home tired, not us!  Would I use this as a grade? Probably not, but I know my kiddos worked hard and they had a lot of quality practice.

Want another fun multiplication craft?  Download this FREE Holiday Tree!  It has 3 different levels of multiplication and division skills.

Happy Multiplying!

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