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Teaching Beginning Multiplication

I always try to introduce my second graders to multiplication in the last month of the school year. It is important that my students understand the concept of multiplication before they enter the third grade. Hint: Ask the PE teacher if they can skip count by different numbers while stretching. 3’s and 4’s are tough for them, but if they can skip count by them before we start our unit on multiplication, they will have an easy time mastering the skill.

            Where do I begin? Of course the easiest set of facts is the 0’s. This only takes one lesson. Then, we move on to the 1’s. This only requires one lesson as well.

            I begin the 2’s by explaining that they are just our doubles facts from addition. We also do some sort of drawing activity to help them see what the concept of multiplying looks like. This is really important when they are just starting to learn how to multiply. It also shows them how multiplication is used in real life. I also think that it is really important that they learn them in word problem form.

            We learn our 3’s the same way that we learn our 2’s. Again, skip counting by 3’s daily (and at different times of the day) helps them tremendously.

            We do many of the same sort of drawing activities with our 4’s and 5’s too. Once we have mastered the concept of multiplication, we move on to solving word problems without pictures to help. When solving word problems, we do the following steps. These steps help when moving on to more difficult word problems down the road.
  1. 1Read the entire word problem. 
  2. Underline the question and understand what they are wanting you to find or solve.
  3. Go back and circle only the important numbers that you need to solve the problem.
  4. Solve the problem.

            Once we have worked through our 5’s I like to show them a multiplication chart that shows how many of the facts that they know. There are only 25 other facts that are left for them to learn. I generally don’t go past the 5’s for my second graders. Rather, I would prefer them to be confident and completely master the basic facts.

Below is a FREEBIE that you can use in your classroom to help your students learn their basic facts!

The complete Beginning Multiplication Unit can be found here:

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