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Teaching the Basic Facts of Multiplication

written by: Donna Ventura • edited by: Michele McDonough • updated: 2/26/2014

Help your students understand the basic facts of multiplication by introducing the concept of object groups and showing them how to transform simple word problems into mathematical sentences.

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    Lesson Objective: The lesson is aligned to the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics:

    3.OA.1 Operations and Algebraic Thinking – Interpret products of whole numbers.

    Materials Required: pictures of giraffes, tricycles, tables with 4 legs, and peg boards and pegs

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    Lesson Procedure

    Giraffes and Legs

    Associate the number of giraffes and legs to groups and objects in the group. Show students pictures of giraffes, and note that each giraffe has four legs. Lead a discussion on how to associate the number of giraffes and legs to groups and objects in that group. For instance, 1 giraffe with 4 legs can be thought of as 1 group with 4 objects in that group. Likewise, 5 giraffes with 4 legs on each giraffe can be thought of as 5 groups with 4 objects in each group. Explain that 5 groups with 4 objects in each group can be written as 5 x 4.

    Here are some questions to ask the class during the discussion:

    1. How many legs are there on 1 giraffe? (Answer: 4 legs)

    2. How many legs are there on 5 giraffes? (Answer: 20 legs)

    3. What number sentence represents 5 groups with 4 objects in each group? (Answer: 5 x 4 = 20.)

    Tricycles and Wheels

    Using the same process as above, discuss the following questions with your class.

    1. How many wheels are there on 1 tricycle? (Answer: 3 wheels)

    2. How many wheels are there on 6 tricycles? (Answer: 18 wheels)

    3. What is the equation that represents 6 groups with 3 objects in each group? (Answer: 6 x 3 = 18.)

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    Individual or Group Work

    You can continue the discussion with the examples listed below, or use these problems as exercises for students to work on individually or in groups.

    Tables and Legs – Show a picture of a table with 4 legs.

    1. How many legs are there on 1 table?

    2. How many legs are there on 7 tables?

    3. What is the equation that represents 7 groups with 4 objects in each group?

    Peg Boards and Pegs – Identify 2 rows on a peg board. Place 6 pegs in each row.

    4. How many pegs are there in 1 row?

    5. How many pegs are there in 2 rows?

    6. What is the equation that represents 2 groups with 6 objects in each group?

    Solve the problems below. Write the equation that can be used to solve each problem.

    Each giraffe has 4 legs.

    7. How many legs are on 3 giraffes?

    8. How many legs are on 8 giraffes?

    9. How many legs are on 6 giraffes?

    Each tricycle has 3 wheels.

    10. How many wheels are on 2 tricycles?

    11. How many wheels are on 5 tricycles?

    12. How many wheels are on 3 tricycles?

    Each spider has 8 legs.

    13. How many legs are on 5 spiders?

    14. How many legs are on 6 spiders?

    15. How many legs are on 7 spiders?

    Each group has 5 objects.

    16. How many objects are in 1 group?

    17. How many objects are in 5 groups?

    18. How many objects are in 7 groups?

    19. How many objects are in 2 groups?

    20. How many objects are in 6 groups?


    Answers:

    1. 4 legs

    2. 28 legs

    3. 7 x 4 = 28

    4. 6 pegs

    5. 12 pegs

    6. 2 x 6 = 12

    7. 12 legs, 3 x 4 = 12

    8. 32 legs, 8 x 4 = 32

    9. 24 legs, 6 x 4 = 24

    10. 6 wheels, 2 x 3 = 6

    11. 15 wheels, 5 x 3 = 15

    12. 9 wheels, 3 x 3 = 9

    13. 40 legs, 5 x 8 = 40

    14. 48 legs, 8 x 6 = 48

    15. 56 legs, 8 x 7 = 56

    16. 5 objects, 1 x 5 = 5

    17. 25 objects, 5 x 5 = 25

    18. 35 objects, 7 x 5 = 35

    19. 10 objects, 2 x 5 = 10

    20. 30 objects, 6 x 5 = 30

    Goal: Students should be able to determine the product (no greater than 100) of two whole numbers.

Introducing Multiplication and Division in 3rd Grade Math

The activities in these lesson plans are designed to help your students understand the basic facts of multiplication and division, and relate them to problems that involve finding the number of objects in a group.
  1. Teaching the Basic Facts of Multiplication
  2. Basic Facts of Division: 3rd Grade Math Lesson
  3. Solving Multiplication and Division Word Problems
  4. Solving for Unknown Quantities: 3rd Grade Math Lesson
  5. 3rd Grade Math Assessment on Multiplication and Division