5 Lessons you Should Include in your Multiplication Unit

A few years ago, I was at the nail salon and I heard this mom that was super angry that her child’s teacher taught her kid multiple ways to learn how to multiply. As I listened to her rant and rave, I was super proud of that teacher. That teacher didn’t just teach to ONE kid but taught to all of them. They taught different ways so that each student was successful in their academic career. If our multiplication lessons did not contain multiple ways – would ALL of our students be successful?

The short answer is no.

If we don’t help all of our students become successful, we are failing as educators. We are not there to pick and choose the different methods that our students are going to be successful with. We are there to teach and support the students and provide them with tools to help them be successful.

Multiplication Lessons to Include:

You understand that we need to support our students but maybe you don’t know which way to go yet. How can we support them if we don’t know what lessons we should ABSOLUTELY include in our multiplication lessons? That’s where I come in. I am going to give you my 5 lessons that I refuse to skip when I am teaching multiplication.

Basic Facts

Take an entire lesson to remind students about basic facts. Challenge them by making the numbers larger.

  • 3×5=15
  • 30×5=150
  • 300×5=1500
  • 300×50=15,000
  • 300×500=150,000

Do you see how I did that? I took the numbers and made them larger but yet you can still see the basic facts in there.

Standard Method

In Florida, where I live, standard procedure may not be on the actual standards. However, as an educator, I am very well aware that this is a method SOOO many students and teachers use throughout their entire lives. I will spend an entire day on this lesson and teach the students how to use the standard method to multiply.

Partial Products

Partial products is not my favorite method. In fact, when I get to that day, I cringe. I usually have 2-3 students that like this method and that is when I realize teaching this method each year is just as important as every other method. How does partial products work? Super simple. Let’s multiply 25 x 34. We will break it down by place value.

  • 20 x 30=600
  • 20 x 4=80
  • 5 x 30=150
  • 5 x 4=20

All I did was break apart the numbers and make sure that they are broken apart by their place value. Then I was able to multiply the opposite parts. If you have students that are forgetful or dare I say…sloppy…this may be a struggle. Why is this multiplication lesson so hard for me? I struggle with remembering how to separate the numbers and being able to remember HOW to separate them. When I start teaching it again- I am fine though…usually.

Area Model

This is always a class favorite. In fact, between this and standard method, we are usually split. I often will use this when the numbers are too large. Area model is the visual representation of partial products. You make your “window” and then you will break it apart by the place value just like in partial products. This time the students will see directly what they are multiplying. They will be able to multiply in an easier fashion because they have the visual.


I explain to the students by starting with 10 to the second power. It is easier to explain the powers of ten by starting with 10×10 (ten to the second power) = 100. Then we are able to move to 10 to the third power. When we add these into our lesson, we are allowing the students to think in a way that is concise and effective. You can check out the blog post about teaching exponents here.

Now what?

Are there more lessons you should include? Probably. These are just my 5 favorite multiplication lessons that I use year after year. I also like to add the lattice method for my high achievers. They seem to really like this method and think it is quite fun.

Guided Math Multiplication Unit

A lot of teachers reach out to me to about including these pieces in their lessons but their text book does not support them. Lucky for you, I have a Guided Math Unit that will support you. These Guided Math units comes with everything that you could possibly need. This particular one is just for multiplication and place value.

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