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Teaching Multiplication Strategies

Teaching Multiplication Strategies
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Teaching Multiplication and learning multiplication facts can be a difficult part of teaching numeracy to your students. Fortunately, there are a range of simple, effective strategies that we can use to help us teach the multiplication facts so that every student can be successful!

Teaching Multiplication strategies empowers students to solve problems and carry out calculations with confidence and understanding. Although memorization of number facts is desirable, it should not be the only teaching strategy, and students need to be taught strategies to use for when the memory fails!


Teaching Multiplication


Teaching Multiplication… much more than “Shoot Out!”

I am not a fan of fast fact math games like ‘sheriff” or ‘shoot out’ and it doesn’t help teach students about multiplication! There I have said that out loud!

There seems to be a misguided notion from students and some teachers and parents that speed in the recall of facts defines your capabilities and ability as a math’s person…I have come across many people who think  that if you are fast at fact recall then you’re good at math.

Well let’s set the record straight… this is NOT TRUE! And I am on a mission to change this terrible point of view with parents, students and teachers alike…


Multiplication Teaching Strategies

The first sign that someone thinks speed is an indicator of a math ability are  seemingly “FUN” games that focus on  the fast recall of facts. These pressure situations actually do more harm than good, especially for levels of confidence, risk-taking and Growth Mindset, and need to be approached with caution and timed just right!

 These games only build speed in the recall of the facts that the students already know, they do not help them with the facts they don’t know neither does it build any understanding of the multiplication concept.

In fact students who only know facts and who have been rushed into recall before developing understanding, probably wouldn’t know a real life multiplication task if it was right under their nose!

Banish Math Anxiety

And what about the slower, less confident student? They may actually know the answer but can’t perform due to huge amounts of stress and anxiety. For these students such activities don’t help their learning but facilitate  math anxiety and stress, and the feeling that they are not good at maths, it may even make them HATE maths!

So what is the answer? Yes students do need recall and speed, but this is something that is developed after exploring and investigating the multiplication process and over time with practise, but please don’t write a student off  as ‘not good at maths’ because they can’t recall with speed, I still cannot recall 7 x 8, to this day, without saying in my head 6 x 8 is 48 so 7 x 8 is 56 !

Our Favourite Children’s Books With A Multiplication Theme

Spaghetti And Meatballs For All! (Rise and Shine)The Multiplying Menace Divides (Math Adventures)Kids Activity Book For Minecrafters: Puzzles, Mazes, Dots, Finding Difference, Crosswords, Math, Counting And More (Unofficial Book)The Best Of TimesThe King's Chessboard (Picture Puffins)Too Many Kangaroo Things to Do! (MathStart 3)

Strategies Over Speed!

Here are 5 of  the best multiplication strategies  to teach your students. These strategies will help them solve multiplication problems using their existing additive understandings. Teaching programs nee to include explicit teaching of these strategies as well as opportunities to apply the strategies in problem solving situations. We created a series of teacher videos to help explain each strategy.

Watch these videos to learn more about:

  • Repeated Addition
  • Equal Groups
  • Skip Counting
  • Arrays
  • Commutative Property.
  • We also have a Multiplication Pack containing Activities, Think boards & Classroom Posters for these concepts. See it here…


Repeated Addition

  • Repeated addition is the easiest way to solve multiplication problems but it requires students to be able to interpret a multiplication problem  correctly. For example the problem 3 x 4 would be 3 added together 4 times. Start by using materials, pictures and then a number sentence to help students make the connection 3 x 4 is actually 4 + 4 + 4  explain why it’s not 3 + 4 or  4 + 4+ 4 or 3 – 4.

Equal Groups

  • This is the first step when introducing multiplication to your students. so using 3 x 4 as our number problem students would be taught to interpret this as 3 groups of 4 and represent it with concrete materials then drawings.

 Skip Counting

  • Is a more efficient way of counting a collection that links to multiplication. It is helpful for students to match a chant that they have memorised to physically moving and counting materials to help them make connections between the chant and counting.


  • Arrays are useful models to link repeated addition, groups of & skip counting together as a way of performing multiplication. Use objects, stickers or dots arranged in columns and rows. Each column must have the same number of objects as the other columns. It is an efficient way of ordering materials to count and by adding another column each time students can see the multiplication facts growing progressively. This model helps build a visual image to aid memorisation.

 Commutative Property

  • The Commutative Property is a great way of cutting learning multiplication (and addition) facts in half. This property applies to the order in which computation is carried out and highlights that changing the order in which digits are multiplied, will not change the answer so 3 x 4 = 12 and so does 4 x 3

Multiplication Fact Mini Book

  • Here’s a little multiplication booklet that your students can make to help them with multiplication fact fluency.

 Italian Lattice Method

  • Italian Lattice Multiplication dates from 1478! … Click To Watch The video. An alternative written multiplication strategy introduced by Fibonacci . This strategy utilises partitioning & the distributive law to solve multiplication problems. Wish someone had shown me this. CLICK FOR FREEBIE