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Beginning Multiplication!

beginning multiplication

The leap from adding and subtracting to beginning multiplication is always HUGE for students! Many of my students admitted to feeling excited and motivated to learn, while several other students admitted to feeling scared and worried. Of course I had to follow up with, “What are you worried about?”

The students in my class stated that they’ve heard from others how hard multiplication is. We discussed their fears and excitement, then got right down to learning.

Starting with Arrays

We began by focusing on arrays and looking at packages of juice – and discussing how juice bottles still in the plastic packaging make an array.

After I assured them that they would be able to drink the juice if they worked hard on the math problem, we took the four packages of juice and made an array showing 4 x 6.

Once they understood how that array worked, we opened the packages, and made an array showing 2 x 12. One student suggested that we turn the juices sideways and the array turned into 12 x 2.

Another student suggested that we make groups of 7. We tried – but that didn’t work out evenly. We were successful making groups of 8. This lesson lasted much longer than I had anticipated, but it sure ended up working extremely well!

By now you are wondering – “Where the photos of the class gleefully making juice arrays??”  Unfortunately, taking photos slipped my mind until after they polished off the juice – sorry! But I’m sure you get the idea about what we did!

Beginning Multiplication Stations

The next day, while students were out of the classroom, I set up various stations around the room. As one group worked on their Number of the Week (A product that I’ve been working on this school year – hopefully it will be up for sale in the spring!), the other group moved through the stations of arrays.

Students are moving through stations making arrays

I learned from my mistake of not taking pictures, so I can show you pictures of the stations! They were simply arrays set up using the smooth stones from the Dollar Store (they are pretty, kids love them, and at $1 a bag you can’t go wrong!) and the typical math manipulative teddy bears.

Arrays for beginning multiplication

Students kept track of their answers on plain paper that we folded into sections.

Easy multiplication stations using arrays

Some students recreated the arrays on their papers, while others just wrote the problems represented by the arrays. I liked the idea of drawing the array – thinking about how to recreate the picture was hard for some of them!

Beginning Multiplication Craft

The next day I wanted another follow-up activity to seal-the-deal on arrays. We combined our knowledge of arrays with our Halloween excitement and made some cute Spider Arrays.
I began this activity by drawing a lovely picture on the board – yep, my artistic ability is a constant source of awe in my classroom!!!

Incorporation arrays into stations, drawings, and crafts

And we did discuss the number of legs that spiders should have – (“Are spiders insects?” Our science teacher shuddered!)

Making multiplication arrays with hands-on craft activities

Students were instructed to choose their favorite array to recreate on a spider. They were supposed to show the groups in an obvious way on their spiders – some were able to group them quickly and easily, while others needed help with how to show groups.

Arrays for multiplication are fun with a quick craft!

They turned out to be pretty cute – and making them really didn’t take very long – which is a winning combination!

Quick craft idea for teaching multiplication arrays
Multiplication array crafts for bulletin boards - quick and easy!

I’d love to hear your wonderful ideas about how to incorporate the holidays and “craftivities” into your lessons!

I’d love for you to check out some of my multiplication products! This one is from my Beat the Clock multiplication facts “game.” Students race against their own times. It’s a unique product that allows them to “cheat” by completing 8 multiplication facts at the top of the page in which the facts are in sequential order. They can then peek at the top to help them complete the bottom section of 8 problems.

More Beginning Multiplication Resources

It’s a great product to promote multiplication fact fluency!

Please read my blog post about the Beat the Clock game!

Another popular resource (that I LOVE!) is for more advanced multiplication and division skills. This bundle helps students understand multi-digit multiplication and long division using visual shapes and colors. It’s perfect for differentiation and is amazing for special education students and at-risk students.

product cover image of 2-Digit Multiplication and Long Division with 1-Digit Divisors BUNDLE

As shown below, special needs students are able to learn double-digit multiplication a bit easier! That makes us ALL happy!

Easy way to differentiate multiplication lessons

If you are looking for a word problem strategy – I strongly recommend the CUBES or CUBED strategy! These sets come with poster options and task cards are available also.


CUBES and CUBED math word problem strategy posters

Click to learn about this resource

Bulletin board idea for CUBES or CUBED word problem strategy
Visual mini-poster prompt for word problems in math

Finally, my love of task cards is pretty obvious. Be sure to visit my TPT shop for task cards and lesson resources!