With a third grader in our home, learning about multiplication is well and truly on our agenda. As well as learning to recite the times tables, Miss 8 is also learning a range of strategies for solving multiplication problems. If you’re looking for ways to support your child’s multiplication learning, with an emphasis on making the learning fun and engaging, be sure to check out our Times Tables Bingo game (free printable) and today’s printable Multiplication Strategy Mat. The mat helps take multiplication learning beyond rote repetition, cementing a child’s understanding of the relationships between a range of multiplication strategies.
Some children struggle with memorisation of number facts (I was one of them!) and providing tools that help children realise there are a number of different ways to approach solving a multiplication problem helps them to better understand how multiplication actually works. Once they learn and understand a few different strategies, they will indeed have a stronger foundation for learning to remember and recite multiplication facts.
The Multiplication Strategy Mat requires the child to draw/make and write to represent a multiplication problem as four different strategies – equal groups, arrays, repeated addition and skip counting – as well as recording the problem with the correct answer as a complete number sentence. This helps the child to actually manipulate, see and better understand that multiplication is actually all about combining equal groups together to find a total amount.
The strategies included are;
- Equal groups: The child can draw dots or shapes to represent the equal groupings or use small manipulatives such as beads, buttons or unit blocks. I suggest laminating the printed mat and using a whiteboard marker for the drawing and writing tasks.
- Array: An array is a group of objects arranged into rows and columns. Again, this can be drawn or made with manupulatives.
- Repeated addition: The child is learning that by adding the second factor (or number) repeatedly, you can solve the problem. The first factor tells you how many time to add it.
- Skip counting: Counting by the second factor, the first factor tells you how many skips ahead to make as you count.
- Write the full multiplication sentence.
The problem shown in the centre of the mat is simply a card drawn from our set of multiplication cards. You can grab a beginner’s set here, or check out our complete Muliplication Resource Pack which includes a printable set of multiplication cards for factors 1 through 12 alongside 35 pages of print and play multiplication games.