Multiplication for 3rd grade: Best Strategies for Struggling Students

Multiplication for 3rd grade students can seem daunting. Third grade is typically the year for students to learn how to multiply. 

For some kids, memorization comes easy and teaching the facts is as simple as reviewing and practicing the facts. But for most kids, it’s difficult to memorize so many facts and recall them quickly.

They need different approaches, strategies, and instruction to learn the facts. It’s important for all students to understand the concept of what multiplication is. Multiplication is one of those key concepts that they will continue to build upon and use for the rest of their lives!

Tricks for Learning Multiplication for 3rd Grade

Another term for multiplication is Repeated Addition. At its very simplest, repeated addition is when the same number is repeated several times. For example, if you give your students a problem such as 3+3+3+3, it could also be rewritten to say 4×3. You can also do this with groups of items.

A great demonstration to teach kids about multiplication could be setting up five groups with three items (erasers, beans, blocks, etc) in each group, and have them tell you how many items there are total. By approaching multiplication as a partner to addition, it might make it easier for kids to understand.

Another way to teach multiplication to third grade students is by starting with skip counting. SplashLearn explains that “skip counting can be defined as the method of counting forward by numbers other than 1.” Have your kids practice this skill by counting by twos. After they show that they can count by skip counting, help them visualize this concept by writing, drawing, or using items, adding two items with each skip-count. 

The key with teaching children how to multiply is in scaffolding. It’s best to start off with one number at a time (i.e. 2×2, 3×3) and then continue to mix them up as they become more confident in their multiplying skills!

Fun Ways to Teach Multiplication

There are so many great ways to build on the concept of multiplication. Once your students have the basics down, you can use a variety of tools to keep the information fresh and challenge them to think about multiplication in different ways.

Write out problems on paper or provide a chart with problems and have them check to see if they are correct. If you are out and about, you can also use the time while waiting in line to do some problems, or write some on the mirror with an expo marker while your child is getting ready in the morning!

Below is a free printable multiplication chart if you need one!

Or, an easy way to work with your child on multiplication is by using flash cards. You can create your own, or purchase an inexpensive pack like this one on Amazon!

If you are looking for a one-stop shop in helping your child learn how to multiply, the book Multiplication Facts that Stick by Kate Snow might be the way to go. This book focuses on game-based learning to make multiplication fun and easy for kids!

Or, you can opt to do your own game-based learning by playing games that reinforce the concepts they have learned, such as Yahtzee or multiplication bingo. You can even turn UNO into a multiplication game by flipping two cards over and, if your child can solve the problem, they keep the cards! Even something as simple as using a pop-its toy can make multiplication fun so your child can visualize what they need to multiply.

With so many great resources online, it is definitely worth your time checking out these multiplication resources that your child can access from the computer! Tang Math Games is a great option for fun learning and skill-practicing games for a variety of math concepts, including multiplication! Or, you can use free, online practices such as XtraMath. There are also fun resources that you can find on YouTube, such as Mr. DeMaio’s playlist of multiplication songs or Schoolhouse Rock.

If your student is still struggling, consider Times Tales, a simple (and affordable) program that turns times tables into memorable stories. It uses visual imagery, repetition, and easy stories to memorize multiplication facts. Students watch the videos and there are corresponding worksheets. If your child is not struggling but their fluency (rate of recalling the facts) is slow, Times Tales will help speed up recall as well.

Learning how to multiply is important. Teaching your third grade student multiplication can seem like an uphill battle, but there are so many great resources to make this difficult concept engaging and fun.

You May Also Like