Students need to learn strategies to help reduce the amount of time it takes to learn all of the 100 basic multiplication facts. By using strategies that take advantage of number sense, the distributive property of multiplication, and patterns in the multiplication table, students gain much more than just automaticity of their basic facts—they begin to see that mathematical patterns can be elegant and useful.
The unit contains a 26-page teacher’s guide with 28 visuals and 6 tables to clearly explicate the strategies and the language that goes with each strategy. There are also masters ready to be printed on card stock and cut to make two sets of 100 flash cards.
The first set utilizes the standard flashcard front, but the back contains much more than the problem and the answer—the strategy name (e.g., square the missing number minus one), the order for learning each strategy (e.g., squares, square the missing number minus one, square number plus itself), the language to use with the student who doesn’t remember what to do with a particular strategy (e.g., on the back of the 6x5 flashcard, the strategy name is Square Number Plus Itself and the language of that strategy says “5-squared plus 5).
The second set utilizes an area model for the flashcard front with the length and width labeled. The number of unit squares in the rectangle is the product of the two factors shown. Not only does this appeal to visual learners, it also reinforces or helps to create the area model as a multiplication model. The backs of the second set are the same as the backs to the standard flashcard front.
All of the flashcard fronts are printed in smaller sizes by strategy so the teacher can work with students or let students practice recognizing each strategy and how to implement it.
There are additional materials to help the teacher with formative assessment, summative assessment and record keeping. My students have utilized these materials successfully for over three decades.
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