Multiplication was always one of my favorite topics to teach in math. It’s also a very important concept that our students need to master. When I first started teaching, I thought that teaching multiplication was pretty boring. However, over time I’ve discovered many multiplication activities that make the concept more fun for not only the students, but the teachers, too!
If you’re stumped on how to teach multiplication in a fun and exciting way, here are 5 multiplication activities that your students are sure to love.
1. Circles and Stars
Circles and Stars is a fun multiplication game that helps students recognize multiplication as equal groups. To play, students simply need one die and a piece of paper.
First, the student will roll the die and draw that number of circles on their paper. Then, the student will roll the die again and make that number of stars inside each circle. Last, the student will write a multiplication or repeated addition sentence to represent their drawing.
Repeat for as many rounds as you’d like students to complete. At the end, you can throw in some addition practice by having them add their total from each round for their final score.
You can play this with a simple blank sheet of paper; but, I also have a free Circles and Stars template available for download in my TpT store. Either way, this game is extremely low prep!
2. Partner Search
There are so many different ways to represent multiplication – equal groups, arrays, tape diagrams, repeated addition, to name a few. Have students practice identifying the different representations with a game of Partner Search.
To play, you will need to prep cards ahead of time. Decide how many students you want in each group (consider the number of students you have so you can make sure every student has a group). I recommend 3-5. Create cards that represent different multiplication sentences in different ways. You will want to have enough different representations per number for each student in the group.
For example, if you are doing groups of 4, you could do one equal group picture, one array, one repeated addition sentence, and one multiplication sentence for each number. Distribute one card to each student, and on your cue, have them go around their room and find the students’ whose cards represent the same number. Once finished, you can redistribute the cards and repeat as many times as you’d like.
Don’t want to do the prep work? You can get a pre-made set of Partner Search cards (plus other multiplication activities) as part of my Math in Motion Multiplication Games.
Okay, I couldn’t resist with that heading! Another multiplication activity you can easily implement in your classroom is array charades. Simply assign students a number (or have them choose one), and have them create an array using their bodies or other objects. Once their array is created, other students not part of the array can figure out the number that was created.
Another one of my favorite multiplication activities involves using mini erasers (such as the ones from the Target Dollar Spot) to create arrays or equal groups. I usually use this activity when introducing multiplication for the first time. Start by instructing students what to make (such as 3 rows of 4, 2 groups of 5, or a particular number sentence), then move on to giving them a particular total and let them figure out how to make it themselves. This is a great opportunity to show students how there are different ways to represent the same number.
5. Array Bakery
When you are done with your multiplication unit, review everything your students have learned by bringing them to the Array Bakery! This resource makes a great room transformation and reviews multiplication (as well as some division) concepts such as equal groups, arrays, and repeated addition. It brings an aspect of real-world application to your classroom, and students will love being bakers for a day as they solve multiplication problems!
Even if you don’t directly teach multiplication, the Array Bakery will still work for you. Multiplication and repeated addition versions are included for the activities, making it appropriate for 2nd or 3rd grade.
For more information on this resource, click here.