EL Support Lesson

Let's Talk About Multiplication Facts

It's not enough to just memorize the multiplication table! It helps students to know how to explain their strategy to find the product too. Teach this lesson on its own or use it as support for the lesson Slap and Roll Timed Multiplication.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Slap and Roll Timed Multiplication lesson plan.
Grade Subject View aligned standards
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Slap and Roll Timed Multiplication lesson plan.

Students will be able to recall a variety of multiplication facts based on repetition and peer support.


Students will be able to describe a multiplication problem using visual aids and sentence starters.

(3 minutes)
  • Tell students that they will practice their mental math skills by participating in a number talk about multiplication facts.
  • Explain that in order to succeed in math in fourth grade and beyond, it is important to know their multiplication facts quickly. That being said, elaborate that it is acceptable for students to find some multiplication facts tricky or challenging. In this case, it is helpful to have strategies to be able to figure out the product or answer to the multiplication problem.
  • Read aloud the content and language objectives and have students repeat it to a partner.
(10 minutes)
  • Introduce students to the tiered vocabulary words. Have students volunteer to read each word as you display the vocabulary card on the document camera. Have them read the definition to their partner and describe the image and how it connects to the meaning of the word.
  • Explain to students that these words are important for them to know as they talk about multiplication facts.
  • Tell students that today they will be looking at visuals or images of multiplication facts and also regular multiplication problems and discussing how they know the product.
  • Show students an array with 6 rows of 3 dots on the document camera.
  • Ask them to silently think of words and numbers they can use to describe the image they see.
  • Have them turn to a partner and orally describe what they see. Have them share their observations with the whole group and record their ideas below the image. Write the name of each student that contributed to an idea of how to describe the image (e.g., "a group of 6 rows of 3 dots - Gary," "18 dots in all - Shannon," "an array that shows 6 x 3 - Irma").
  • Confirm students' responses and direct their attention to the variety of words, symbols, and numbers that can be used to describe one math image.
  • Repeat this process with another math expression or picture such as 6 x 6. Make sure the vocabulary cards explained earlier are displayed for students to refer to as they conduct the number talk on this expression.
(10 minutes)
  • Re-emphasize the meaning of "multiply" as stated on the vocabulary card (the process of adding a number to itself a certain number of times). Mention that there are many strategies to solve multiplication problems because there are many ways to represent the concept of multiplication.
  • Create an anchor chart with examples to show students the variety of ways that we can show the multiplication problem 4 x 3:
    1. Repeated addition (3 + 3 + 3 + 3)
    2. An array (draw an array of three objects in four rows)
    3. Equal groups (dots in a circle or other shape)
    4. A word problem (Omar has four bags of cookies with three cookies in each bag).
  • Explain that knowing many ways to show multiplication helps us remember all the multiplication facts or times table, especially when we find some tricky.
  • Distribute a whiteboard and marker to each student. Place students in groups of 4.
  • Explain that you will show them the multiplication problem 6 x 7. Assign students a number from one to four and have them represent the multiplication fact according to the strategy assigned to them (see 1–4 above) on their whiteboard. Give students two or three more multiplication facts and have them change their number (i.e., a students who wrote repeated addition (#1) for the first problem should draw an array (#2) for the second problem).
  • Tell students to share their whiteboard with their group members so that they can check each other's work. Display the following sentence stems/frames to use as they share:
    • "I wrote/drew..."
    • "This is one representation of the multiplication problem ____."
    • "I like/dislike this representation because..."
    • "I think this representation is helpful because it..."
  • Call on some students to share their representations with the whole class.
(10 minutes)
  • Tell students they will practice doing mental math or solving a math problem in their head before sharing their mental strategy with a peer and drawing/writing a visual representation of their thinking.
  • Display the three prompts from the Multiplication Cards for Number Talks worksheet. Read them aloud to students and model how to answer them for the first card (8 x 7).
    • What do you see? ("I see eight times seven, a multiplication fact.")
    • How would you describe the information and solve the problem? ("I would describe it as eight groups of seven. I solved it by counting by sevens, eight times to get to 56.")
    • How could you represent the same information on the card in a different way? ("I could represent it by drawing eight rows of seven circles.")
  • Place students into effectives partnerships. Tell them that they will do a number talk for a multiplication problem or an image of a multiplication problem with their partner.
  • Show another multiplication card on the document camera. Give students a minute to think about the answer to the prompts above. Tell them not to draw anything but to think of the product and the factors as they complete the mental math.
  • Have them share the answers verbally with their partner. Repeat the process as many times as necessary while listening in on students' conversations about the ways they represent and solve the same multiplication problem.


  • Provide a paragraph frame for students to use (see example) as they demonstrate and justify their assessment.
  • Give students access to bilingual glossaries and online dictionaries for them to look up unfamiliar words throughout the lesson.
  • Place students with more advanced ELs for partner work.
  • Pull aside a small group of students as they work on the group work and guide them through the process.
  • Have students repeat the directions in their home language (L1) or in English (L2) before beginning their work.
  • Allow students to work on the formative assessment piece with a helpful partner.


  • Encourage students to speak and write their answers without using the sentence frames/stems.
  • Allow students to be the first to share their ideas or rephrase their classmates' contributions to class discussions.
  • Have students create and display a word/phrase bank with helpful terms from the lesson for reference purposes, with images if applicable.
(4 minutes)
  • Ask students to compare one of their sets of answers to their partner's answers using this question and sentence starter as a guide:
    • How were your responses similar? How were they different? ("My partner's answer was similar to mine because we both... My partner's answer was different to mine because he/she... while I...")
  • Invite all students to respond to the prompt verbally.
(3 minutes)
  • Distribute a sticky note to each student. Have them reflect on the lesson and share their main takeaway or learning from it by completing this sentence stem: "My main learning from today's lesson was..."
  • Have students place their sticky note in one location (e.g., on a piece of chart paper) and read aloud some of the sentences.

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