“Ok everyone, repeat after me, 2×2 is…4! Awesome work!” Does this method sound familiar to you? Is it something that you currently use in your classroom? Repeat after me has been a common method of teaching multiplication throughout the years. However, do students truly learn how multiply with ease with this method? While memorization can be helpful with simple multiplication, when we start to get deeper into the skill, it can become more difficult if the basic understanding of multiplication is not there. So, how can we teach multiplication in a fun way that doesn’t include just a repeat after me format? Here are 5 ways make multiplication facts fun!
1: Spiral Back!
Reviewing old skills that relate to the new skill you are working is a great way to learn! You can accomplish this through a spiral review. A great way to start teaching students about multiplication is to go back to what multiplication really is: adding! Explain to students, when you multiply, all you are doing is adding the larger of the two numbers together for whatever the amount of the smaller number is. For example, if you are going to multiply 365×2, you would add 365+365. You can do this by spiraling back to some of the skills you learned before in terms of simple and long addition with a spiral review game.
2: Scoot Over!
Another great away to teach multiplication as a natural skill is to allow your students to review and practice multiplication with a great game of Scoot! If you’ve never used Scoot before, you have to check it out! Scoot is a great way to get your students up and moving! Collaboration can also be used in Scoot games because students will all look at the same problems at some point. If you allow your students to collaborate while playing Scoot, they will gain the knowledge of those around them and be able to help others learn as well.
3: Start off Right!
When you are working with a new skill, it’s always good to start the day with that in mind and integrate it as much as you can. When you use morning work and incorporate a spiral review into the work, it can really be a game changer! Not only are you getting your students’ brains working right away in the morning, you are also giving yourself a chance to correct incorrect thinking!
4: Squares Your Brain!
A game is always a fun way to use math skills especially new ones! Squares Your Brain is a great way to add a little fun and a lot of engagement into your classroom. With this game, you get 26 boards (all printable!), so your students won’t get bored! This game helps your students learn and practice their multiplication tables, but can also be a game changer for your stations. When adding this fun game to your set up, your students will be eager to get to it and will for sure all while having a great time!
5: Challenge of the Week
Finally, you can test your students’ multiplication skills out by giving them a challenge question every week. After you have spent a fair amount of time with a multiplication skill (like multiplying single digits), give your students a challenge. For example, you might have them try to multiply a double digit number with a single digit number. To encourage trying, give students a “prize” for giving it a shot. Something simple like some stickers would be great. If students get it right, you can give them class tickets or whatever you use as a reward. This would also be a great way to allow students to work collaboratively.
Working with multiplication is no easy task, and it’s even harder when you’re trying to make it a natural skill your students have. Like any new skill, it takes time and work for students to totally get it. Going beyond the drill and kill method with games like Scoot, Squares Your Brain, and even a Spiral Review here and there will help your students not only learn the new skill but love it as well!