Because Math: Here's How to Do Multiplication

solving multiplication problems

Did you know that four out of ten students report they hate math? Students tend to learn a dislike for math starting about the same time multiplication facts come into play.

While there isn't necessarily a connection between multiplication and dislike of math, the point is students get scared as math gets harder. It doesn't have to be that way though. 

There are some simple tools and tricks you can use to help students learn how to multiply. By overcoming this newest math hurdle you can combat that fear and dislike of math.

Tools to Help Learn How to Multiply

The first step in teaching how to do multiplication is to have the right tools in place. The proper tools include the learning environment as well as the materials used. 

The best way to help children learn their multiplication facts is to create an environment that encourages children to ask questions and get involved with the learning process. There are some simple steps you can take to encourage this learning environment.

  • Praise students for participating.
  • Encourage discussion.
  • Show students why multiplication matters in real life.
  • Consider the different learning styles for individual students.

It's important to keep students positive about what they learn. Even if they don't figure it out right away, helping them see what they did right will make them more willing to try again.

Keep Their Attention

It's important to keep the students' attention to ensure they understand what they're learning. Simple methods can help make the process easier when teaching multiplication or any math concepts.

Where possible, use games, team projects, real-life situations, and connections to make the learning process easier on them. These different methods help the student connect new ideas to concepts they've already learned. 

These methods can also make math more fun for students. Let's face it, students retain more information if they're having fun with it. 

You can also use visual aids to help students learn how to multiply numbers. A multiplication chart is useful visual aids to help students memorize their multiplication facts and practice by themselves or in a group.

Students can study the charts, quiz each other, or you can use them for a quick game. Multiplication charts can function for a simple multiplication BINGO card for example.

Different card games such as war, go fish, or matching card games are useful to teaching multiplication facts with a little modification. For example, with Go Fish, you can establish a product and the matches have to multiply together to make that number. 

Use games and visuals to add to the positive learning atmosphere. Help your students see the value and fun in math so they're willing to learn new concepts.

Tricks for Multiplying Numbers

You can also make the multiplication steps entertaining by showing students some of the tricks with multiplication. There are many tricks to use, so you have room to play around and see what works for an individual student. 

Connecting Addition and Multiplication

With simple one-digit multiplication, you can help students break the multiplication problem into an addition problem to show them the connection. After all, multiplication is just a way to simplify addition.

For example, seven times six is another way to say six groups of seven.

Show the students how this works by creating six groups with seven of a certain item. You can then show the problem of adding seven six times.

Once they see the correlation, you can compare it to the problem of seven times six. With each example show them how each one equals 42. 

Tricky Numbers

You can also teach your students some of the tricks with different numbers. When multiplying numbers like five, nine, and ten, there are methods to help simplify and check their answers.

When multiplying five to any number, it's just a matter of counting by fives. This process is easily taught up to ten by practicing a concept they've already learned. They can also use this process when multiplying more complex numbers.

When multiplying by tens, you can show your students how you add zero to the end of the number you're multiplying by ten. Make sure when teaching this trick that you explain why this works. 

With nine you can show students how the product will equal nine when it's added together. For example, if you multiply nine times three, the answer is 27. Adding two plus seven equals nine so you know the answer is correct. 

These are just a few examples of the tricky numbers. Find the tricks that work for your students and encourage them to check their work that way.

Long Multiplication Tricks

Multiplying numbers with more than one digit seems trickier, but it doesn't have to be. When introducing two and three-digit multiplication, make sure your students understand place value.

By understanding place value, students can break multi-digit problems into simpler problems. For example, 22 x 5 breaks up into 20 x 5 plus 2 x 5. This makes the problem easier.

To simplify it even further, you can use the box method of multiplying numbers. You're still separating the problem into parts, but this trick has an added visual component.

Take the problem 22 x 5. You will break the number 22 into 20 plus 2 and place a box under these numbers. On the side of the box, you write the number 5. 

The student now has a visual for placing the numbers 20 x 5 and 2 x 5. In the box under 20, you place 100 which is the answer to 20 x 5. In the box under the 2, you put 10.

Then the student just adds 100 plus 10 for the answer. This helps them visualize what they're doing and helps them memorize the process.

More Tips

Remember, each student is different and they will respond better to some tricks than others. To make sure they grasp the concept of how to multiply you may need to play around with the tools and tricks you use.

This learning difference is the same for any new concept. There are many resources available to help make the teaching and learning process easier.

For more tips on teaching students new concepts, check out our learning resources


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