Multiplication Practice - Build, Draw and Write Equations using Equal Groups

Rated 5 out of 5, based on 62 reviews
62 Ratings
Beyond Traditional Math
Grade Levels
2nd - 4th, Homeschool
Formats Included
  • PDF
44 (including answer keys)
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Beyond Traditional Math

What educators are saying

My students and I loved this real life application of our multiplication learning! The project was well scaffolded and easy to use!
My students and I LOVED this project! Be sure and enjoy some "real" cupcakes with your kiddos-it makes this project over the top! Thank you for an amazing project!


Teach multiplication in a developmentally appropriate and engaging way! When you have students struggling to make sense of equal groups and multiplication equations, give them more time and practice with this real world task.

This is a perfect project for those students that continually mix up the difference between groups vs. the number in a group, or if they struggle to understand the meaning behind multiplication number sentences. All you have to do is print this product and provide counters as cupcakes.

Students are asked to become managers of this bakery cupcake shop! This is an in-depth look at multiplication equal groups and the conceptual understanding behind multiplication. It's a great introduction to multiplication because it will lead you through using tools, drawings and then number sentences. It is also great fact practice as it starts with single digit multiplication facts in the 3s, and gets harder as they go. The majority of the facts covered are 3s, 4s, and 5s.

The project will be a bit repetitive as it is a way for students to practice their new facts with something to connect it to in real life. It is perfect for multiplication review and practicing multiplication strategies like skip counting and repeated addition.

This entire project uses the Concrete - Representational - Abstract instructional sequence. As they move along in the project, they move along in the steps. This approach is explained here:

1. When a student is introduced to a new concept or something unfamiliar, you allow the use of tools. (Concrete)

2. When the student can perform the task, they move on to representing the concept with drawings or pictures. (Representational)

3. When the student can master the task with a drawing or a picture they move to using only numbers and symbols. (Abstract)

What is in the problem?

There are 3 stages within this giant problem (Stages 1 and 2 have between 5 and 10 tasks in it) walking the student through what they need to do. The 3rd stage is open ended and is great for differentiating the project. The problems integrate math, reading and a bit of writing. It is challenging, parts of it are open ended, and is a perfect way to practice performance tasks. Everything you need for the problem is included. The only thing you will need is a material for the students to actually build the cupcake boxes. You could use counters, cubes or any sort of marker that will allow them to work concretely in the first stage.

You will notice that the Standards for Mathematical Practice are embedded within these performance tasks.

What age are the problems appropriate for?

These challenges are appropriate for 2nd graders that may be ready to explore multiplication, 3rd graders who are beginning multiplication, and for struggling 4th graders. I currently use this in my 4th grade intervention group, which is a full year behind their peers.

How can this problem be used?

There are many ways you can use this performance task:

* Fast finisher activity

* Small group work

* Homework for students

* Gifted and talented small groups

* Intervention small groups

* Whole class activity

* Enrichment for students who already know it

The problem steps and their curricular focus:

1. Stage 1: In this stage there are five problems in which students are given stories about the cupcake orders. For each of the 5 problems they:

* Build concrete models.

* Draw representations of those models.

* Connect to abstract number sentences.

2. Stage 2: In this stage there are ten problems in which students fill orders for problems. Initially there are diagrams which are objects, then numbers and then some numbers are missing. For each of the problems they:

* Read drawings and representations.

* Connect to abstract number sentences.

4. Stage 3: There is an extensive open ended element to this problem. This is where the entire project differentiates, as they choose a cupcake price (this is internationally friendly-the amount is open ended without a label), and then they calculate the potential revenue of all of the cupcakes ordered.

There is an answer key at the end of the project.

If you like performance tasks and open ended problems:

FREE! Doggy Dilemma: Open Ended Performance Task

Open Ended Word Problems (My best seller!)

Open Ended Problems - Set 2

Holiday Version - On Stage! Open Ended Performance Task

Presidential Birthday Statisticians: Open Ended Performance Task

Open Ended Math Journal: 125 Prompts to Promote Deep Thinking

Total Pages
44 (including answer keys)
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
3 Weeks
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Interpret products of whole numbers, e.g., interpret 5 × 7 as the total number of objects in 5 groups of 7 objects each. For example, describe a context in which a total number of objects can be expressed as 5 × 7.
Interpret whole-number quotients of whole numbers, e.g., interpret 56 ÷ 8 as the number of objects in each share when 56 objects are partitioned equally into 8 shares, or as a number of shares when 56 objects are partitioned into equal shares of 8 objects each. For example, describe a context in which a number of shares or a number of groups can be expressed as 56 ÷ 8.
Use multiplication and division within 100 to solve word problems in situations involving equal groups, arrays, and measurement quantities, e.g., by using drawings and equations with a symbol for the unknown number to represent the problem.
Determine the unknown whole number in a multiplication or division equation relating three whole numbers. For example, determine the unknown number that makes the equation true in each of the equations 8 × ? = 48, 5 = __ ÷ 3, 6 × 6 = ?.
Apply properties of operations as strategies to multiply and divide. Examples: If 6 × 4 = 24 is known, then 4 × 6 = 24 is also known. (Commutative property of multiplication.) 3 × 5 × 2 can be found by 3 × 5 = 15, then 15 × 2 = 30, or by 5 × 2 = 10, then 3 × 10 = 30. (Associative property of multiplication.) Knowing that 8 × 5 = 40 and 8 × 2 = 16, one can find 8 × 7 as 8 × (5 + 2) = (8 × 5) + (8 × 2) = 40 + 16 = 56. (Distributive property.)


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