Summer Math Camp: Multiplication!

I am SO excited to share with you week two of my Summer Math Camp! I am focusing on reinforcing and practicing important third grade math skills, and sharing all the details and freebies with you! Here’s everything we started with in week one, in case you missed it. Hopefully the ideas and resources in this post will be helpful for multiplication for 3rd grade, or some easy ways to review if you teach 4th or 5th grade.

This post has some fun and unique ideas for exploring multiplication for third grade!

This week I wanted to focus on multiplication, because it is a MAJOR piece of the third grade curriculum, and something that a lot of kids struggle with.

My goal, however, was not to spend our time drilling math facts or teaching them “tricks” to memorize them. While I do recognize that it is helpful to have multiplication facts memorized for easier and more fluent computation down the road, I think it is much MORE important that kids have a conceptual understanding of what multiplication is so that they can still solve problems, even if they don’t remember a particular fact.

If you’re teaching multiplication for 3rd grade, hopefully this post will give you some great ideas for looking at multiple representations and trying some hands on activities.

So the first representation of multiplication we looked at was groups of equal parts. (For example, 4 groups of 6 objects is equivalent to 4×6). To help visualize this, we used my favorite math manipulative: candy!

The purpose of this first activity was not to simply model multiplication, however. I wanted to {hopefully} build a foundation for factoring and divisibility rules. To do this, I gave them each a handful of skittles (and I would often count them to make sure it was a number that would work easily) .

Then, they had to try and divide it into equal parts. If they split them into piles of three, for example, and it didn’t work out into equal piles, they had to try a different number (and thus, their number was not divisible by three). Once they found equal piles, they would write the appropriate multiplication sentence on their paper.

This post has some fun and unique ideas for exploring multiplication for third grade!

It was great to see them realize they could make different groupings with the same number of skittles. For example, one girl had 24 skittles, so she was able to make 8 groups of 3 and 6 groups of 4, etc. It was also a great way to discuss the commutative property and show that if they could make 8 equal groups of 3, then they could also make 3 equal groups of 8.

Once they had a list of multiplication facts that they had made and written themselves, it was time to move on to another representation of multiplication–area (or in this case, the total number of blocks).

After discussing it and showing them how to find the total number of “blocks,” I let them color their answers on these multiplication pages.

Color the Multiplication Answer

If you would like to download these free pages, there is blank page because my girls used the multiplication problems they had written themselves. But in the download, there are also two pages that have problems written, so students can color the blocks and write the correct answer.

{Click HERE to go to my shop and  download the “Color the Multiplication” Pages!}

This post has some fun and unique ideas for exploring multiplication for third grade!

After reviewing multiplication, I wanted to take some time to work on word problems, so I could help them see how these different representations can be used and applied. I also wanted to help them practice problem solving strategies, especially drawing a picture (which was particularly useful for these problems). If you’d like these problems, you can download them below! (They require multiplication and then subtraction to solve.)

Two Step Word Problems

{Click HERE to download the Multiplication Word Problem Pages!}

We didn’t do all of the word problems because I wanted to end with a game! To help review various representations of multiplication and hopefully help them see these as equivalent, we played this great, free game from Let’s Play Math!

And I plan to play this again next week as a review before we move on to our new concept! 🙂

All of these resources have been updated and included in my HUGE Introduction to Multiplication Lesson Bundle! Everything you need to help students build a strong foundation and work towards multiplication fact fluency!

{Click HERE to get the entire Introduction to Multiplication Lesson Bundle!}


    1. Yes I do too! There’s lots of ways to create visuals for multiplication and I think it’s important to help show kids why they get the answer they get, rather than just handing them a list of facts to memorize. 🙂

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