Several of the Common Core standards in third-grade math focuses on multiplication. In fact, I would say out of all the things you teach in third-grade math, multiplication is one of the most important ones. But, it doesn’t stop there. It requires you to teach multiplication strategies.
One of the things we teach is the multiplication and division strategies so that students can find answers on their own without having to necessarily memorize the basic multiplication facts. While I believe it is important to memorize multiplication facts, I also feel it’s important to arm a child with these strategies too.
In my classroom we teach the strategies of equal groups, arrays, skip counting with a number line, and repeated addition. I start by creating a large anchor chart and discussing each one individually so students can master each one before moving on to the next one. Then to demonstrate their understanding of each, I have them present it in one of three ways. Whew! That’s what this post is about. Those three ways you can easily have your students present it too (plus, there is an awesome freebie for you to download so you can get started!)
One way that I have had students present their understanding of the multiplication strategies is by creating a mobile. I simply take a few stars and add different multiplication facts on them so each student has a different fact (this is a great way to differentiate too). Then I give them larger stars on colored paper (or they can color it themselves) labeled with the strategies. Each student demonstrates the fact they received with each strategy. We use string and attach it to a paper plate that is folded in half. Students can decorate their mobile.
Another option to have students present their understanding of the multiplication strategies is by having them create a hot air balloon with the strategies demonstrated there. You grab four pieces of colored paper and take cut it to the shape of a hot air balloon. After students have modeled the strategies on them, fold them in half and glue them back to back, making a 3D balloon. I use a toilet paper roll for the “basket” and have students write the fact they’re representing on it. Then just attach it all with string. Voila, another cute math project that can be used as an assessment (and is fun)!
Grab your free Multiplication Strategies Hot Air Balloon Activity below:
The final (but I’m sure we could come up with more ideas!) way that students can present multiplication strategies (and my favorite way) is with this 4 door foldable. In this representation, students glue their multiplication fact in the middle of the foldable, where the diamond is. Then they represent that fact in the four strategies on the outside. On the inside, they write the definition of those strategies. On the back (not pictured) it asks students what representation they think is the best and why. They have to justify their answer.