Tips for Teaching Multiplication Facts
By Mary Montero
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Multiplication Facts. They are the backbone of so many skills beyond third grade, and yet, students continue to struggle with them well into 4th and 5th grade. We teach students ways to show multiplication, we show them all the strategies, and we master the properties that help us understand some of the rules of multiplication, but sometimes kids just need help memorizing and practicing their multiplication facts!
Before I go any further, I want to be perfectly clear: I believe that children need to be equipped with strategies for solving multiplication facts before you get into memorization. They absolutely must have a conceptual understanding of how multiplication works so that they can discover some of the strategies on their own. Memorizing facts isn’t for everyone, and for some kids, it’s just not a reasonable expectation, either. Keep that in mind as you begin implementing some of these tips into your classroom!
What do I mean when I say students should have strategies for multiplication facts? There are a ton of resources out there that outline the strategies for each fact family. For example, kids should have a firm understanding that if they know all of their 2s facts, they can use those to solve their 4s by doubling the answer. They should understand that they can solve the 3s facts by doubling the number and adding one more group.
This compilation of ideas for math fact fluency is a combination of my own tried and true ideas as well as recommendations from other teachers who responded to a post in my Instagram Stories!
Creating Math Fact Automaticity
General Tips for Multiplication Fact Memorization
- Remember that memorizing the facts in number order (1,2,3s, etc.) isn’t necessarily the easiest or best way. Have students memorize the easiest facts and the facts that they can build upon first. There are several sequences out there, but I typically teach multiplication facts and strategies in the following order:
- Doubles or Square facts like 4×4
- Timed tests have a lot of mixed research on them, but A LOT of teachers believe in them. Again, they may not work for all students, but they certainly work for some! This set of “Beat the Clock” multiplication practice sheets came highly recommended.
- We often focus so much on timed, written tests that we forget about verbal review! SuperSpeed Math from Whole Brain Teaching is an absolute MUST in my routine. For third grade, we start the year with addition and subtraction and then move on to multiplication. It is all done orally, which makes SUCH a huge difference for automaticity. It’s free and you can get it HERE.
Apps for Multiplication Fact Memorization
- Reflex Math comes HIGHLY recommended by many, many educators for math fact memorization. This was easily the #1 recommendation for math fact practice.
- Xtramath.org is also very popular among teachers! This is a free program for multiplication facts, and it’s very simple to use.
- Rocketmath is so appealing for kids with its fun rocketship theme.
- Math Dash Ninjas is a good, quick multiplication game for math centers. It’s fast-paced and ninja-themed. Who can resist that?
- If you use an iPad, Math Ninja also came highly recommended.
Games for Multiplication Fact Memorization
- A few years ago, I shared about Factor Headbands, which I dubbed The Easiest Math Fact Practice Game ever, and it really is! You can read all about it HERE.
- This one is SUPER easy and well-loved by kids! I always called it “The Great Race,” but I have no idea what the actual name is. The kids are in two lines and have to compete relay-race style to get all of the facts correct. The numbers 1-12 are on each team’s side of the board and then they have a number (in this case it was +7) to add to each number. You can see a video of it in action HERE.
- The Trifacta games are amazing! There is a game for Multiplication and Division as well as one for Addition and Subtraction. Let’s face it: kids love ANYTHING made into a game.
- Multiplication Knockout from Erin Waters is so much fun!
- Sixty Second Sweep is so much fun, and a great way to change things up!
- Multiplication War
- These games from Laura Santos at Core Inspiration are making their way into our daily math fact practice routine!
Videos and Songs for Multiplication Fact Memorization
- Who doesn’t love a good song? There are so many different math songs out there! Multiplication Mashup came super highly recommended, and the songs are so catchy!
- A Latte Learning has these ADORABLE Skip Counting songs to the theme of popular songs. Several people noted how big of a difference these made to their students!
Incentives for Multiplication Fact Memorization
- I remember earning an ice cream sundae way back in the day when I memorized my math facts, and many people still do the same! Each child earns a “scoop” as they memorize a new set of facts.
- Several people sent me messages saying that their students earn “belts” like karate belts as they progress through their multiplication math facts! What a cute idea.
Books for Multiplication Fact Memorization
These recommendations may contain Amazon Affiliate Links.
- I have compiled a list of amazing books that help teach multiplication and the facts. You can find them all on my Amazon Storefront HERE.
- The book Mastering Basic Math Facts in Multiplication and Division is full of strategies, activities, and interventions for teaching multiplication.
I recently created a brand new resource to help my students not only memorize their math facts through repeated exposure, but also to master the different ways to show multiplication as well as the various properties of multiplication that I had taught. I have seen AMAZING success with this resource, and I’m so thrilled to finally share it with you!
It includes these Ways to Show Multiplication and Properties of Multiplication Quick Reference Guides
Each fact group 2-12 has two pages of math fact practice. If you haven’t gotten to multiplication properties yet, no worries! There are differentiated pages that do NOT include the properties.
It also includes a fully interactive, digital version.
If you are interested in learning more about this resource, click HERE to view it!
I hope you feel well-equipped to help your students master their math facts. I’d love to hear any other recommendations… just drop them in the comments!
I’m so glad you are here. I’m a current gifted and talented teacher in a small town in Colorado, and I’ve been in education since 2009. My passion (other than my family and cookies) is for making teachers’ lives easier and classrooms more engaging.