Leave the Multiplication Worksheet Behind – Part 2
Third graders who are learning multiplication need practice, lots of practice. Yes, they could use worksheets and practice solving multiplication problems over and over. Or, you could mix it up and ask them to think about multiplication in different ways. Leave the multiplication worksheet behind – try a new way to practice!
We’ve practiced multiplication problems on worksheets. Parents expect that. But we’ve also found other ways to work on this skill without the tedium of the worksheet by adding a bit of competition and collaboration. Multiplication problems on www.getkahoot.com provide practice in a game setting. Kahoot is a very engaging way to practice any skill. Other ways to practice skills are Lanyard Math and Dice.
Our new favorite way to practice multiplication is an activity I call “fill in the box.” In this activity, students work backwards to find the factors when they know the product. They use math thinking as well as guess and check to place the digits. For each guess, they work the multiplication problem to find out if they are correct. These students are actually solving more multiplication problems to check their guesses.
As students finished these problems, they created their own and then shared them with each other. Again, they thought they were playing a game, but to create a “fill in the box” activity, the students have to make up and solve their own multiplication problems. More multiplying!
This is also a great activity for differentiation. The multiplication pretest revealed that several of my students were already proficient in multiplying 2 digit numbers by 2 digit numbers. Once they know that process, they can master any large number multiplication problems. Practicing worksheet problems over and over doesn’t add value for them. Fill in the Box problems extend their thinking and keep them practicing multiplication, but in a way that extends their thinking.
Don’t be afraid to try new ways to practice old skills. What ideas do you have to re-energize the skills that students need to practice?