The area model is a great place value-based way for students to learn and comprehend multi-digit multiplication. Starting with 1 by 2-digit problems, these activities proceed to 1 by 3-digit problems, and then to 2 by 2-digit and 2 by 3-digit.
As you can see, we start with decomposing the factors and multiplying them separately. Each type of problem is related to two other methods of multiplication: the partial products method, and the standard algorithm.
This is the great strength of the area model: it allows us to clarify how the standard algorithm works. We as teachers love to say about multiple ways of doing a problem, “It’s the same thing, it’s just done in a different order.” Well, the area model really brings that out about the different ways of multiplying multi-digit numbers, in a way that is visible and clear to students.
Common Core Standards:
4.OA.5: “Multiply a whole number of up to four digits by a one-digit whole number, and multiply two two-digit numbers, using strategies based on place value and the properties of operations. Illustrate and explain the calculation by using equations, rectangular arrays, and/or area models.”
Subject: Math, Computation,
Level: Grades 4-5
Length/Duration: 24 pages of student work beginning with 1 by 2-digit problems
A Smart Notebook 14 file is also included.