Often when we think of introducing multiplication, our minds drift straight to 3rd grade math. But multiplication strategies are actually introduced in 2nd grade. These strategies help set the stage for students as they begin multiplying larger numbers in 3rd Grade.
It’s important that we help students conceptualize and understand multiplication, rather than viewing multiplication as an abstract idea. Students need an in-depth understanding and just ‘memorizing the facts’ is not enough. Implementing engaging multiplication activities during your whole-group and small-group time is a great way to help students grasp the concept.
What Multiplication Strategies are Taught in 2nd Grade?
Equal groups help students to visually represent a multiplication problem by drawing it out. For example, if a student was solving the problem 2 x 4, they could draw 2 circles and place 4 manipulatives inside, or they could draw 4 circles and place 2 manipulatives inside. Both attempts represent 2 x 4 being split into equal groups.
Repeated addition helps students use addition as a tool to understand multiplication. For example, students can solve the problem 3 x 4 by adding the number 3 four times (3 + 3 + 3 + 3). Repeated addition is a great stepping stone into multiplication, since it is a skill that students already feel comfortable with.
Arrays help students visualize and create meaning of multiplication equations through the use of rows and columns. For example, if a student was solving the problem 3 x 5, they could draw 3 rows of apples going across with 5 apples in each row (making a total of 5 columns).
How Do 2nd Graders Learn How to Multiply?
- Introducing the Concept of Multiplication to 2nd Graders
Introduce what multiplication means and how it relates to the real-world. When will students need to use this skill? Provide different scenarios and help students understand what multiplication actually represents.
- Use Manipulatives to Represent Multiplication
Manipulatives create enjoyable, hands-on learning opportunities for students. They also assist students with making meaning of what they’re learning by allowing them to conceptualize multiplication. Manipulatives are especially helpful when creating arrays and equal groups. Some of my favorite manipulatives for teaching multiplication strategies are:
paper leafs (If you’re working on fall-themed activities)
- Provide Multiple Opportunities to Practice
Expose your students to different multiplication activities during your whole-group and small-group instruction. Understanding multiplication is a skill that improves as students practice. Reading books that include multiplication scenarios, incorporating multiplication math centers, and having class discussions about multiplication are great ways to enhance student learning. Brainstorm ways to make this skill meaningful to your students.
Fall-Themed Multiplication Activities for 2nd Grade
Setting up engaging math centers is a great way to review and get students excited about using multiplication strategies. These fall-themed multiplication activities for 2nd grade will encourage students to work collaboratively as they interact with task cards, spinners, and puzzles. Give students the extra practice they need with a little touch of fall!
Fall-Theme Multiplication Activities & Task Cards
Engage your students with these hands-on multiplication centers! Resource includes 6 different math centers targeting multiplication strategies such as making equal groups, arrays, and repeated addition.
Equal Groups Multiplication Task Card Activity
These multiplication task cards allow students to use manipulatives to practice forming equal groups. Students can work with a partner to create these visual representations of multiplication.
To play, one student will choose a card and then form the correct number of equal groups on their sheet using mini erasers or candy corn. The student next to him or her will write an equation to match.
Want to mix it up? Consider having students draw their equal groups on whiteboards instead. Whiteboards are an easy tool to add to your math centers to keep students engaged.
Multiplication Puzzle Activity
I’ve discovered that adding an element of competition into our learning creates student buy-in. Turning up the competition especially works well with a multiplication puzzle race! .
With this multiplication puzzle, students will solve the equation on each strip to find the matching strip to add on until they have completed the entire puzzle. To play, divide students up into 4 groups (or less) and give them a copy of the puzzles to complete. The first group to finish and have the answer correct, wins!
This activity generates excitement about solving multiplication equations and building fact fluency.
Looking for an extension activity? Consider having your higher achieving students attempt to make their own puzzle.
Multiplication Word Problem Task Cards for 2nd Grade
Exposing students to multiplication word problems allows them to really dig deep into the strategies they’ve learned.
I use these fall-themed multiplication task cards at my teacher-led center during math workshop so that students have extra support if they need it.
During this time, students are able to apply whichever strategies they feel most comfortable using to solve each problem. I like to provide manipulatives so they can create visuals such as equal groups and arrays to represent the equations.
Add a Game Board! – If you’re using task cards at a math center, you can always boost up the engagement by incorporating a board game. On their turn, students draw a multiplication word problem card, write a multiplication sentence to match, and then solve. If students answer the question correctly, they can move around the gameboard. You can use any game board for this!
Multiplication Task Card Scoot – Want to mix it up? The word problem cards in this resource could also be used for a math scoot game. Simply hang the cards up on your walls and have students scoot their way around the room.
Multiplication Spinner Game
Spinners are always a fun addition to math activities. In this spin & multiply game, students spin two number spinners, then write a number sentence using the digit on each spinner and solve.
Each activity can be differentiated to meet the needs of your students. Higher achieving students can create a word problem to match their equation.
Have students who work better with arrays or equal groups? Those students can create those instead of equations.
Fall-Themed Arrays Multiplication Activities
These fall-themed arrays are a festive way to have students practice creating multiplication and repeated addition equations.
To play, have students record the number of rows and columns on each array task card on a piece of paper or whiteboard. Students will then use the equations to solve.
To differentiate, higher achieving students can also create matching word problems.
Repeated Addition Matching
This repeated addition matching activity features leaf cards with multiplication equations (5 x 3, for example) and bags of leaves cards with repeated addition equations (5 + 5 + 5, for example).
Students make connections as they practice recognizing the two different types of equations and how they are related. The easiest way to use this game is to have students match the cards or play Memory.
Find Your Partner: However, if you’re looking for a way to incorporate movement with this activity, here it is! I give half of the students a leaf card and the other half a bag card. Students must walk around the room silently to find their matching card. When they’ve found their match, they stand together until everyone has found their partner.
How to Use Task Card Multiplication Activities During Math Centers
I love using task cards as an engaging activity for my students to complete during math centers. To add task cards to your math centers, create different stations around the room. Have students rotate to the different stations to work on each activity with their small group. As students rotate to your teacher-led center, use this time to focus on a more in-depth mini-lesson or activity.
Looking to differentiate these fall multiplication activities? Struggling learners can focus on equal groups task cards while higher achieving students may be ready for the word problems. You know your students and what supports they best need!