Teacher Guide to Multiplication Resources

Multiplication is a subject that confuses many students. However, once you understand how it works, you will be surprised how easy multiplication really is.

Multiplication as Addition
Multiplication is really nothing more than shorthand for adding together the same number. To convert an addition equation to multiplication, begin by counting how many times the same number is added together.

EXAMPLE #1: 7 + 7 = 14

In this example, there are two sevens, so you write the addition in multiplication shorthand as:

7 x 2 = 14

Because, two 7's equal 14.

Multiplication is used because it would take too much space and time to write out the addition equation, such as in the following example:

EXAMPLE #2: 2 + 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2+ 2 = 16

If you counted the number of 2's that were being added together above, you would find that eight 2's are being added together to get the total of 16. As such, you would write the multiplication shorthand as:

2 x 8 = 16

Because there are eight 2's.

As you can see, you could save a good bit of space by writing that equation in multiplication shorthand.

Uses of Multiplication
Multiplication has a variety of uses. For example, it can be used to calculate the pizza needed for a party or for place settings.

EXAMPLE #3: You have 5 friends spending the night at your house and you decide you will order pizza. If you figure that each person (your 5 friends plus you = 6) will eat at least 2 pieces, you would know that you need to order at least 12 pieces of pizza.

EXAMPLE #4: Lets say you are setting the table for a holiday dinner; each person will need two forks and you have 10 people coming. You could add the forks up individually:

2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 = 20

Or, you could use your multiplication shorthand and write:

2 x 10 = 20

Either way, you will need a total of 20 forks. However, using the multiplication shorthand you can calculate what you need faster and using less space.

Drawing a Picture
Multiplication can seem hard at first, but try to keep in mind what it actually means. If you find yourself getting stuck, try drawing the problem.

EXAMPLE #5: If you are calculating 3 x 4 and you get stuck, draw what 4 sets of three looks like; for example:

•••   •••   •••   •••   

You can count the dots to get your answer, which in this case would be 12.

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