EL Support Lesson

Strategy Work: Skip Counting to Multiply

Use this lesson to teach your students about the strategy of skip counting. It can stand alone or be used as a pre-lesson for *Multiply by 5*.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for theMultiply by 5Lesson plan.
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This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for theMultiply by 5Lesson plan.

Students will be able to multiply single-digit numbers by five and check that their answer ends in a five or zero.


Students will be able to describe the strategy of skip counting using sentence frames.

(2 minutes)
Learning Skip-CountingSkip Counting to Find the TotalTeach Background Knowledge TemplateWrite Student-Facing Language Objectives Reference
  • Ask students to think about how many eyes they have and hold up that many fingers.
  • Walk around the room and model how to skip count the number of eyes in the entire classroom by pointing to each student and saying, "2, 4, 6, 8..."
  • Ask students to discuss how you figured out the number so fast. Engage the class in a discussion about the Strategy, or the plan of action to solve a problem, you used. Explain that you used the strategy of Skip counting, which is when we count forward or backward by a number other than one.
(10 minutes)
  • Write a multiplication expression on the board that relates to the introductory example of finding the number of eyes in the classroom. For example, write 2 x [number of people in the class] on the board, and explain that the 2 represents the number of eyes each person has, and the other number represents the number of people in the classroom. Point out that you skip counted by 2.
  • Provide another example to model skip counting by focusing on items in the classroom that students can see. (e.g., Tell students that you want to know the number of legs on tables or desks in the classroom.) Draw an image on the board if necessary, to provide a visual of how you can point and skip count.
  • Engage the class in discussing the strategy of skip counting and how to use it to find the answer to your question. Provide clarification and feedback as needed in the class discussion, and then model the process of skip counting to find the answer. Point out what number you skip counted by and write the multiplication expression on the board to make the connection between the strategy and multiplication.
  • Explain that skip counting is helpful because it helps you arrive at an answer more quickly. Make the connection between skip counting and multiplication by emphasizing that skip counting can help us Multiply. When we multiply, we add a number to itself a certain number of times. Skip counting helps us better understand multiplication because it helps us count in equal groups to reach a number, like counting eight groups of two to get to 16.
(10 minutes)
  • Distribute a copy of the Learning Skip-Counting worksheet to each student, and display a copy on the document camera.
  • Create a story for the first example such as, "The two teams each have five players on the court. How many players are on the court?" On the teacher copy, label each column as Team 1 and Team 2, and explain that each dot represents a player, so each column represents five players on one team. Have the students make the same markings on their papers.
  • Ask students to skip count with you out loud by 5 to arrive at an answer, and then have them point to each dot on the worksheet individually and count aloud from one to ten. Ask students to turn to a shoulder partner to discuss which strategy was easier for them.
  • Guide the class through the second problem on the worksheet, and provide a story such as, "There are five packs of pencils, and each pack has five pencils. How many pencils are there?" Invite students to explain how to label the visual and have them lead the skip counting to find the answer.
  • Put students into small groups and instruct them to complete the final two problems on the worksheet. Call on students to discuss their answers and describe the strategy of skip counting and how it helped them. Provide a sentence starter such as "Skip counting is ____." and "Skip counting helped me because ____."
(12 minutes)
  • Tell students that they are going to do an oral activity where they explain how to solve a problem using skip counting.
  • Read aloud a problem that is displayed on the board. For example, " I want to know how many chairs are in the classroom. If there are four chairs at each table, and there are six tables, how many chairs are there?"
  • Instruct students to take out their maths journals or a blank piece of paper. Have them look at the problem on the board and write down their ideas and reasoning for solving the problem using skip counting. Provide a sentence starter for students such as "I can solve this by ____." and "I know my answer is correct because ____."
  • Give students time to think about what they will say to the first partner to explain how to solve the problem. Tell learners that they will not be able to use their notes for the discussion portion of the activity.
  • Partner students intentionally, and instruct each student in the partnership to share their reasoning. Remind them that their goal is to be clear as they explain their strategy. Even if they have the right answer or they both agree, the goal is to be able to clearly explain their thinking to each other. Share that it is acceptable to ask clarifying questions during the explanations.
  • Scramble the partners and ask students to repeat the same process, but this time making their reasoning even clearer and stronger.
  • Instruct students to return to their seats and look at the response they wrote down at the beginning of the activity. Instruct them to write down a final explanation in complete sentences. Allow students to use drawings to support their explanations.
  • Engage the class in discussion about their responses to the initial maths question, and how their explanations changed throughout the activity. Have students complete the sentence frame, "I used to think ____, but now I think __."


  • Have learners repeat instructions and key vocabulary to the teacher.
  • Provide students with a sentence frame to use during the Guided practise portion of the lesson, such as "____Was easier for me because ____."
  • Give students a hundreds chart or a number line to serve as a visual support.


  • Choose advanced ELs to share their ideas first in group and class discussions.
  • Have advanced ELs speak first in the oral language activity, and partner them with struggling learners.
  • Have learners repeat instructions and key vocabulary, summarizing important information for the class.
(8 minutes)
  • Give each student a copy of the worksheet entitled Skip Counting to Find the Total. Go over the instructions and review the example. Instruct students to complete the remaining three problems on the worksheet independently to demonstrate their proficiency with skip counting.
  • Put students into A-B partnerships. Instruct partner A to explain the first problem to their partner, and direct partner B to listen and ask any clarifying questions. Then, have the partners switch roles for the second problem on the worksheet. Circulate and observe student explanations.
  • Call on a nonvolunteer to explain the third example on the worksheet. Provide feedback and ask clarifying questions.
(2 minutes)
  • Remind students that the strategy of skip counting is useful when we multiply because it helps us count in equal groups and arrive at an answer quickly.

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