Sure, multiplication is just repeated addition. However, our same students that struggled with addition fluency are going to struggle with multiplication and division as well! Why? Because they just aren’t developmentally ready for it! Yep, I said it! So what can we do as teachers to help multiplication stick? Make it meaningful, hands-on, fun, repetitive, and engaging. They will pick up on the facts with targeted and intentional learning opportunities that you can provide for them.
Make it Meaningful!
How can you make multiplication meaningful? Present it in ways that are concrete and fact family specific. Don’t move on to a different fact family until students have a firm foundation of 0s, 1s, 2s, 5s, and 10s. This is a great starting place for students because they can skip count.
Anytime that you can bring in counters, dice, Play-Doh, mini erasers or other manipulatives, the more comfortable students will become. Why? Because this gives them something to refer back to. When their minds can’t produce the answer, they can look back at the pieces or dots and find some sort of anchor point to assist them in coming up with their answer.
Repetitive…Wait, Repeat that!
Sure, multiplication needs to be memorized, but for a student that doesn’t understand the process behind the answer, that can be a catastrophe! Students don’t need to just be able to answer a problem, they need to be able to explain the reason behind the equation. Repetition allows students to feel confident as they work out or solve an equation. The more practice they are provided, the higher their levels of success and the lower their levels of frustration. I know! I know! Your pacing guides only allow a specified time for multiplication and division. BUT, during your math small groups or math stations, pull in additional review practice throughout the year to provide a serial review for your students. Or better yet, break into intervention groups! Yep, you know I had to say it!
Keep it Engaging!
In order to increase the engagement of a lesson or activity, you have to increase the participation that your students have in the lesson or activity! Active students are engaged learners! Keep this in mind as you are presenting your strategies and techniques for learning how to multiply or divide.
Multiplication and Division Activities for Interventions
Pulling all four of those important components together for successful student achievement can be difficult. I’ve teamed up with Erin (Snazzy in Second Grade) to develop a resource that provides materials for all of your multiplication and division small groups. All you have to do is print, prep, and instruct! What is great about this bundle is that the activities can be used in both small group, independent tutoring or homeschooling, math centers or stations, and early finisher baskets. Click here to see more!