For multiplication facts to make sense to children, they have to have lots of concrete and representational experiences with the idea of multiplication prior to trying to achieve automaticity with the facts. Students need to move from addition to multiplicative thinking to understand the difference between 4 + 3 and 4 x 3. This little activity is another one from Van de Walle. Students use a 10-by-10 array and an L-shaped overlay to help them visualize the meaning of multiplication. There are two ways to use the board:
- Call out a fact, for example 4 x 4, and have students use the overlay to show the fact and determine the product.
- Give the students a product and have them use the overlay to show you how it could be made. For example, if you ask students to show you 16 apples, they might use the overlay to show 4 x 4, 2 x 8, or 8 x 2.
The freebie includes a B & W version, a color one, and a template for the overlay.