EL Support Lesson

Strategies to Make Multiplication a Breeze

With this lesson, your students will see how the order of the factors does not affect the product in a multiplication expression. Use this on its own or alongside *You're On a Roll! practising Multiplication Facts.*
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for theYou're On a Roll! practising Multiplication FactsLesson plan.
GradeSubjectView aligned standards
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for theYou're On a Roll! practising Multiplication FactsLesson plan.

Students will be able to solve multiplication facts up to the number six.


Students will be able to explain a strategy for memorizing their multiplication facts.

(2 minutes)
Teach Background Knowledge TemplateWrite Student-Facing Language Objectives ReferenceVocabulary Cards: Strategies to Make Multiplication a BreezeGlossary: Strategies to Make Multiplication a Breeze
  • Read aloud the student-facing content and language objectives for this lesson.
  • Briefly define any unknown terms in the objectives and emphasize that today the students will work with a partner to compare and contrast strategies used to solve multiplication problems.
(8 minutes)
  • Define the terms: compare, contrast, strategy, multiplication, order, different, product, and similar by displaying the Vocabulary Cards. Give students their own set of cards to reference throughout the lesson. Have them turn their cards over and draw an additional symbol or write a word or phrase to help them remember what the word means.
  • Have students keep the Vocabulary Cards for Compare, Contrast, Different, and SimilarOut, while setting aside the others. Instruct students to turn and talk to a partner about how these four words are related. Challenge them to create two categories of words (e.g., same and not the same). Share out as a class and provide sentence starters to support discussion. For example, "These words are related because ____."
  • Explain what multiplication means by thinking aloud about a simple problem, such as 3 x 4 = ?.Provide some context about the problem. Say, "I went apple picking and filled three baskets of four apples each. How many apples do I have?"
  • Think aloud and explain that there are several ways to solve this problem, such as skip counting, repeated addition, using a multiplication chart, making an array, or drawing equal groups. Model solving the problem in a few of these different ways and point out that each time you used a different strategy, you still found out that 3 x 4 = 12.In the context of the word problem, you have 12 apples.
  • Instruct students to turn and talk to a partner about their favorite multiplication strategy from the ones you listed or modeled. Provide a sentence frame to support discussion, such as "My favorite strategy is ____Because ____."
(10 minutes)
  • Divide the class into small groups, and make sure each student has a whiteboard and whiteboard marker.
  • Tell students that each group is going to secretly be assigned a multiplication strategy to practise. Then, they will share their strategy with the rest of the class.
  • Share a multiplication word problem. For example, "I ran five miles a day before school everyday last week. How many miles did I run from Monday to Friday last week?" Invite students to help you come up with the multiplication expression to write on the board.
  • Assign each group one of the multiplication strategies reviewed earlier in the lesson, such as skip counting, repeated addition, drawing equal groups, arrays, or using a multiplication chart. Instruct groups to quietly work together to use the strategy to solve the multiplication problem. Remind them that they will be responsible for explaining the strategy, so they must make sure everyone is able to explain it clearly. Allow them to take notes, if necessary.
  • Have groups share their strategy with the class, and provide feedback or clarification as necessary.
  • Call on a nonvolunteer that was not in the group presenting and ask them to summarize the strategy. Provide a sentence stem to support their explanation.
(13 minutes)
  • Put students into partnerships and assign one partner as Partner A and the other as Partner B. Explain that they are each going to get their own multiplication fact to solve with any strategy they choose that has been discussed in the lesson, and then they will compare and contrast the two strategies and answers with their partner.
  • Write the following instructions on the board:
    • Partner A: Solve 5 x 6 = ?
    • Partner B: Solve 6 x 5 = ?
  • Give students time to solve the problem using any strategy they choose, and remind them to discuss what is similar and what is different about the strategies and answers. Provide sentence stems/frames to support student discussion, such as:
    • I noticed that ____Was similar/different because ____.
    • I noticed ____About the products.
    • One similarity/difference is ____.
    • ____And ____Are similar/different because ____.
  • Bring the class together for a whole group discussion and pose the following questions:
    • Does anyone else want to give more information about ____'s strategy?
    • Who can restate ____'s reasoning in a different way?
    • What conclusion can you make about solving these problems with different strategies?
  • Explain the conclusion that the two factors are the same in each multiplication expression and the order does not matter; the product is the same. Point out that it is possible to just know the relationship between two factors as opposed to memorizing each multipication fact as separate. This makes memorizing multiplication facts easier!


  • Allow access to reference materials in home language (L1).
  • Have learners repeat instructions and key vocabulary to the teacher.
  • Provide a word bank of key terms and phrases for students to use in group and class discussions.
  • Group students intentionally based on academic and language needs.


  • Allow learners to utilize glossaries and dictionaries for unfamiliar words.
  • Choose advanced ELs to share their ideas first in group and class discussions.
  • Have learners repeat instructions and key vocabulary, summarizing important information for the class.
(4 minutes)
  • Give each student a sticky note for the Exit Ticket. Pose the following questions and have students respond on their sticky note:
    • Why do 5 x 7And 7 x 5 Have the same answer?
    • What strategy can you use to help you prove it?
  • Provide a sentence frame to support students, such as "Both 5 x 7And 7 x 5Equal ____Because ____." and "The strategy of ____Helped me because ____."
(3 minutes)
  • Have students turn and talk to a partner to share one thing they learned or that was reinforced about multiplication today. Provide the following sentence stem/frame:
    • I learned that ____.
    • The idea of ____Was reinforced today. It is helpful because ____.
  • Call on nonvolunteers to share with the whole group.
  • Tell learners that there are many different ways to help memorize the multiplication facts, and along with practise, they can be fluent with the facts!

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