Multiplication is challenging for many children. Teaching multiplication strategies can help. It is important to make sure that the strategies make sense and that they are understood so that they can be applied to various situations. Just memorizing times tables is not the answer.
I tutor students that struggle with math concepts. They are overwhelmed with all the material presented to them at school. They need some simple, concrete strategies to do math so that they can be successful.
I decided to go back to the beginning and give them one or two multiplication strategies to work with. As they became more confident with those strategies, I added one or two more.
Making Connections Is Important
Children are sometimes amazed to learn that multiplication is really just a faster way to add things together. I love the book Amanda Bean's Amazing Dream by Cindy Neuschwander because it illustrates that concept so well. It's pictorial representation of learning to multiply instead of just adding is humorous, but also factual. After reading this book it is easier to explain why we need some multiplication strategies and why it helps to learn the times tables.
Understanding The Thinking Process
One of the important things to remember is not everyone learns the same way. We all process material differently. I share the analogy with my students of using a road map or route when going somewhere. We may all take a slightly different route to get to school, but we all arrive there eventually. Our thinking and processing are like the routes we take. It is important to be able to explain how we get an answer.
I often tell my students that our thinking and processing is more important that the correct answer. Of course, we want our answers to be correct, but if we are not following a road map that gets us to the correct destination, that doesn't help us.
Multiplication Strategies That Work
I created some strategy organizers to explain how the different strategies work. These are not exhaustive, but they do work with the struggling students that I work with. They include strategies for the multiplication facts up to 10 as well as how to multiply 2 digit numbers by 1 digit numbers.
Doubles, double doubles, skip counting, adding zeros, and using expanded notation are some of the strategies that help with number sense and make multiplication easier. Click the image below to find out more.
With these strategies and practice, the mystery disappears and children are able to move on to more difficult material.
It is so exciting to see the confidence develop as children begin to master these multiplication strategies. They no longer dread math class and they are eager to participate and share their thinking as well.
About Me Charlene Sequeira
I am a wife, mother of 4, grandmother of 9, and a retired primary and music teacher. I love working with kids and continue to volunteer at school and teach ukulele.