How to practice multiplication without worksheets


Clifford Buck
Stevenson Elementary, Houston, Texas
Subject: Math
Grades: 2-8

Topic: Multiplication Facts. 

Purpose: To practice multiplication facts without using worksheets.

1 die for every two students
Stop watch or clock with second hand
Chalk Board or Chart Paper
Scratch Paper for Kids

Prior knowledge: After you have worked with the students on the concrete and pictorial level with multiplication, you can use this to enhance their speed and memorization skills of mulitiplication.

Description: Upon completing this activity, the student will increase their skills using multiplication.

Time: This activity should only take about 5 minutes after the students have learned how to do it. The first few times you use this activity it will take some time as the kids are unfamiliar with it.

Procedure: On the chalkboard you will put the numbers 1 to 6. These will represent the numbers on the die. Under each number you will put an equation. For example, under the number 1 you will put 6 x 7 in vertical form. Under the number 2 you will put 6 x 8 and so on. You may use the same fact more than once if the students are having more difficulty with specific facts.

After you put six multiplication facts under each of the numbers, put the answers under each and have the children read them with the answers. You may randomly point to them rather than going through 1-6 in order.

When they students have read the problems a sufficient number of times (usually 3 or 4) one of the students write exactly what you have written on the board, with the answers. This person will be the scorekeeper while the other will be the dice roller. After they have copied all the information, erase the answers.

Each student will have one minute to roll the die. Each time the die is rolled the student will say the multiplication fact for the corresponding number that is rolled. For example if they roll a 1, they will say 6 x 7 = 42. For each correct response, the scorekeeper will give them one point. They may not roll again until they get the problem correct. The teacher who is the time keeper, allows the student to roll for presisely 1 minute. After that minute is over, the scorekeeper and die roller exchange jobs and the process is repeated all over again.

When both students have had an opportunity to play it is time for the teacher to recognize the students achievements. The teacher will call on the student to determine how many they got correct.

Students getting 10 or more should be recognized with a "good job" . Students should not get more than 25 correct if they are playing and their partner is scoring correctly. That is only allowing about 2 seconds for each problem, which is not sufficient time. You need to walk around and montor the students while they are rolling. If you have an odd student, you will be the scorekeeper for that student and they will have an opportunity to roll twice.

This lesson can also be done for spelling words, subtraction facts, geometric figures, math terminology, grammer. As the teacher you can implement it an any way that will help the student to learn.

Extension: You may develop your own test sheets with only the facts you have used on the board as reinforcement of the skills learned.

Gender Issues: This is a time on task learning experience. It allows the students to have fun and learn. You may pair the girls with other girls to avoid gender competition.

These pages were developed through GirlTECH, a teacher training program sponsored by the Center for Research on Parallel Computation (CRPC), a National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center.
Pages copyright July 1999 by Clifford "Bill" Buck.