Teaching Strategy | What is Multiplication?

When students are taught multiplication, it’s often taught by showing them the multiplication table and asking them to read it aloud, and then repeat it many times, until they remember it, “by heart”. But what does multiplication mean? Does saying “Two times six is twelve” mean something to the child? Can the child visualize “Two times six”. And does the child know how to use the information “Two times six”?

Wikipedia defines Multiplication as “Multiplication (often denoted by the cross symbol “×”, or by the absence of symbol) is the third basic mathematical operation of arithmetic. The multiplication of two whole numbers is equivalent to the addition of one of them with itself as many times as the value of the other one; for example, 3 multiplied by 4 (often said as “3 times 4″) can be calculated by adding 4 copies of 3 together: 3 x (times) 4 = 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 = 12.”

In simple words, multiplication is repeated addition. It is the process of arranging objects in groups to facilitate easy counting.

Picture this – You break open your piggy bank and out come a pile of 1 rupee coins. How will you count them?

As adults, our immediate reaction would be to make stacks of 5 or 10, then arrange them in an array or table, and then add/count them. And, this is where we are applying our knowledge of multiplication.


multi array

Multiplication looks like an array or table, hence when it is introduced to children for the first time, the visual of an array should be introduced and the concept should be taught in context to the visual. Once children understand what it looks like, then it makes more sense memorizing tables.

Here’s a fun way to introduce the concept of multiplication.

Begin by drawing the following grid.

2by10 grid

Point to the number 1 in the equation “2 x 1” and tell children that they have to color the 1 square, 2 times. Demonstrate how to color the squares.

2by10 grid_2

Ask them to count the number of colored squares. Then, write the number in the answer box.

2by10 grid_3

Tell that 2 times 1 is 2.

Draw the next grid.

2by10 grid_4

Ask how many squares should we color. Point to the red number in the multiplication equation, to indicate the number of squares to color. Tell that we have to color 2 squares, 2 times. Then, color the squares, count them and write the answer.

2by10 grid_5

Repeat the process with the next few numbers or until the children grasp the concept.

Give each child a worksheet with the 2 times table grids. Ask them to color the boxes and write the answers.

2by10 grid_6

Once the entire grid is filled, ask the children if they see a pattern in the gird. Explain that each time the number of colored boxes increases by 2.

Then, ask the children to form groups of 2. Give each group a cup with 8 beads/green gram beans. Don’t tell them how many beads/beans are there in the cup.

Ask the children to guess how many beads/beans in the cup. Then, ask them to arrange the beans in 2 rows. Draw a grid on the board, if required.

2by10 grid_8

Ask the children to look at their 2 times table grids, which they just colored. Ask them to compare their bean arrangement with the grids and find the grid that matches the arrangement of the beans. Then, ask them to point to the answer in the gird (8). Ask them if to count and confirm if they have 8 beads.

2by10 grid_7

Repeat the process with different number of beads/beans.

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Kanchan Shine

Kanchan Shine

Passionate about everything related to education. I believe that the best kind of learning happens through play, experiments and fun! I love watching how children learn and love to implement play-based, hands-on teaching approaches. I get my thrill by planning activities for my children (6 yo girl & 3 yo boy) and watching them learn while having fun!

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1 Response

  1. Poonamistwal says:

    Good …very innovative

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