Multiplication Facts are essential background knowledge for upper grade math. Going deeper with Common Core Math can be challenging when your students don’t have a solid foundation in multiplication. Teaching multiplication strategies helps to build a firm foundation for math to come.
Have you ever been in the middle of a lesson trying to teach something like equivalent fractions and realized your students are struggling because they don’t have a secure working knowledge of multiples, factors, and multiplication facts?
As the Common Core pushes teachers and students to go deeper, there is a somewhat unspoken issue. How can they go deeper when they didn’t come to me with the background skills they should have? How can I teach them 5th grade standards when they didn’t learn what they were supposed to in 3rd and 4th grade?
Students need essential basic skills before they can go deeper.
What do I do when they don’t have them and my pacing calendar doesn’t give me time to go back?
Begin with Assessment
In a world overrun with assessments, you are probably thinking, “Seriously, another assessment? How am I going to have time to teach?” I know the feeling. That is why I love technology.
Gone are the days of time consuming tests. There are now several ways to gather quick assessment data without ever needing to do any grading. This summer, I spent time experimenting with many and my absolute favorite is Quizizz.
Quick Multiplication Facts Assessments with Quizizz
Quizizz is a free digital assessment tool that can be used on any device that connects to the internet. You can take a Quizizz quiz right now. Just for you, I’ve set this one up as homework so anyone can use the code to take it up until October 29th at 11:45 pm. Just go to join.quizizz.com and enter the code 587730.
Wasn’t that fun? Don’t you love the memes?
If you’d like to give your students that same quiz, you can. Just create a free account at Quizizz.com. If you follow this link, you can assign it to your students. https://quizizz.com/admin/quiz/57df19151ea8d5a25babb903
I usually play Quizizz live but the homework option is nice for assigning something if you aren’t one to one with devices.
The best part (to this data geek) is the Quizizz Reports. In mere moments, you can view the data on their website or download it.
If you’d like to see sample data in Google Sheets, click here.
If you’d like to screen your students for all multiplication facts, give this longer Quizizz: https://quizizz.com/admin/quiz/57df2fe61ea8d5a25babbcad
Teach Multiplication Strategies
“I don’t know 8 x 7.” How many times have you heard an upper grade students say something like that? When you ask them how to figure it out, they stare at you blankly. Those students learned to memorize without strategies.
We need the students to memorize the facts. We also want them to know how to figure out facts they haven’t memorized.
Next are several important multiplication strategies:
Multplication Facts Strategy: Arrays
Multiplication Facts Strategies: Repeated Addition
Multiplication Facts Strategies: Number Lines
Multiplication Strategy: Hundred Chart
Multiplication Facts Strategy: Finding Patterns
Ideally, students will discover patterns on their own. Of course, they will need prompting and practice to do this. Once a student notices a pattern, they can teach it to their classmates.
Sometimes, there are patterns we want them to notice. Telling them isn’t enough, they have to interact with the pattern to really internalize it.
Where can I find resources to teach these strategies?
The challenge, especially if you are working in an upper grade classroom is to find time for all of this while teaching grade level standards.
All of these gifs are from my Multiplication Facts, Strategies, and Games for the Google Classroom.
I created this resource to allow easy differentiation. The resource contains 10 slide decks: a teachers manual and a slide deck for each multiplication fact. There are also 9 answer key slide decks included.
I created two videos as part of this resource. One video introduces students to Repeated Addition. The other video is an introduction to show students.
Because students are working at their own pace, I wanted students to be comfortable with the tech skills needed, so there are tech tips throughout the slides like this one.
What if I don’t have the technology?
There are tons of resources for teaching multiplication facts using traditional paper and pencil. Here are all of my resources for basic multiplication: