I remember that memorizing multiplication facts was something my mom used to make me do every day. And I remember that I despised it. But you know what? I am so glad she made me do that because I learned them. Multiplication facts practice is something we start AFTER I teach understanding how multiplication works. That part is really important and should never be rushed. But memorizing multiplication facts is equally important because it helps kids when they start doing division and even fractions. Today I’m giving you some ideas for engaging activities to help kids practice their multiplication facts.
Multiplication Facts Practice Online
We are a one to one classroom with Chromebooks. So when my students finish a math assignment they often do multiplication facts practice online. I created a class just for these games in Google Classroom so the kids can get to them quickly. They love playing many of the games on the Times Tables website. Number Diving and Times Table Rally are two of their favorites. Another game they like is Monster Multiplication where they create a monster while practicing their facts. What I like about this one is that they choose which multiplication table they practice. These sites are also great for practicing at home if they have computer access.
Multiplication Facts Practice Worksheets
Another way my students practice is what we call D.I. or direct instruction. I make multiplication facts practice worksheets for each table. The first column has the facts in order. The second column has the facts out of order and the last column has the facts out of order and with no product. At the beginning of the year, I teach them the routine and then they can practice it the same way on their own.
We start by chorally reading the first column out loud. If anyone messes up before we finish, we start over. We follow this routine for three days. Then we move on to chorally saying the facts out of order. Again if someone messes up we start over. We follow this again for three days. For the last 3 days of practicing a multiplication table, we chorally read the facts without the answers and have to fill them in as we say them. This one is the hardest for them to do and we start over many times. But this routine works so well in helping them memorize!
One of the multiplication facts games we play is Multiplication War. It’s a fun partner game! This is a great game to use when you want to pull small groups and need the rest of the class occupied but engaged. To play all you need is a deck of cards. Players decide which multiplication table they want to practice and take the card out that matches. For example, if they want to practice their 5’s, they would take out a five from the deck and place it face up. The rest of the cards stay face down and get split between players. Each player takes the top card from their deck without looking at it. They say “1,2,3 War!” and turn their card over. Whichever player can multiply their number by 5 first gets to keep their card and their partner’s card. Repeat these steps until all the cards are gone. The player with the most cards wins!
For a fun group game, we play Claim it! It’s a challenging fast-paced game that gets kids practicing all of their multiplication facts. The object of the game is to make matches of facts and answers. You have to think fast because someone might claim the card you need before you can get it!
What’s great is that you can differentiate Claim it! anyway, you need it. If you have kids that know most of their facts you can give them all of the cards to play the game. If you have kids that aren’t there yet, you can give them the easier cards like 2’s, ‘5’s and 10’s and build from there. I use it as an incentive and start by teaching the game to those that know all of their facts. Then I start teaching the rest of the kids and they realize that knowing their facts is important to being successful at making matches. It’s a really fun game and the kids love it!
If done on a daily basis, memorizing multiplication facts should lead to retention.