EL Support Lesson

Multiples and Skip Counting

Help your students understand the connection between skip counting, multiples, and multiplication with this lesson. Teach it on its own or use it as support to the lesson Clap Counting with Multiples.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Clap Counting with Multiples lesson plan.
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This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Clap Counting with Multiples lesson plan.

Students will be able to identify the least common multiple of two numbers.


Students will be able to identify and explain multiples and non-multiples of a whole number with peer support and sentence frames.

(3 minutes)
  • Ask students to think of different ways to count. Pose the following scenario: let's say you are on a field trip and you want to count the total number of students quickly before getting on a public bus. What are some ways you could count?
  • Have students turn to a partner and share their ideas. Call on a few students to share with the whole class. Ideas may include counting by 2s or 3s, or have students form into groups of 4 or 5 to count them by groups.
  • Record students' ideas on a piece of chart paper entitled "Ways to Count."
(8 minutes)
  • Explain to students that all of the counting methods they suggested are valid and helpful for counting quickly, especially compared to having to count by ones.
  • Point out that the term for this type of counting is called skip counting. Show students the Vocabulary Card for "skip counting," read the definition aloud, and provide an example.
  • Inform students that another way to think of skip counting is by calling each number in the list a "multiple" of the first number. For example, when skip counting by 3s, you would say 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, etc., and all of these number are multiples of the number 3. Make the connection to repeated addition and the essence of multiplication as a form of skip counting or repeated addition.
  • Tell students that they will practice identifying multiples of different numbers and comparing the different strategies to find multiples. Define the vocabulary term strategy and have students brainstorm other ways to use the word "strategy" in relation to math using the sentence frame: "My strategy to solve ____ is ____." Provide an example, such as "My strategy to solve a multiplication problem is to draw a model."
  • Ask students to verbally complete the sentence frame and share it with a partner. Call on a few non-volunteers to share their sentences out loud with the whole group.
(10 minutes)
  • Display this word problem to students on the document camera and read it aloud: "I am going to teach a sewing class to the fourth graders this year. I bought 4 packets of sewing needles and each packet has 6 needles. How many needles do I have in all?"
  • Model your thinking aloud how to solve this problem, specifically focusing on the concept of skip counting to find multiples of 4.
  • Say, "I could skip count by 4s and stop once I've counted up by 4 six times: 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24. I know that these numbers are also known as multiples of the number 4 because they can be produced by multiplying by 4. I could also draw a model or an array to show my thinking."
  • Ask students to share any other ideas or strategies they have to solve this problem.
  • Distribute whiteboards and markers to students.
  • Read aloud a word problem to students and have them take a minute to silently think of strategies they would use to solve it: "A restaurant has 9 tables and each table can fit 4 people. How many people can fit in the whole restaurant?"
  • Instruct students to solve the problem and show their strategy on the whiteboard. Tell students to also list the multiples of 9 as part of their response.
  • Place students in effective partnerships and have them share their work. Display the following sentence stems for them to use as they discuss: "My strategy to find multiples is ____. I solved this problem by ____."
  • Recognize some pairs of students for the different ways they solved the problem (e.g., by skip counting, drawing a model of 9 circles with 4 dots in each circle, etc.).
(10 minutes)
  • Tell students they will now play a game with their partner called, "Which One Does Not Belong?"
  • Distribute the Which Is Not a Multiple? worksheet to students and show a copy on the document camera. Read the directions aloud and go over the sample problem.
  • Remind students that if we are able to skip count successfully, we are able to find the multiples of a number easily and figure out which number does not belong in the group.
  • Explain that it is important for them to talk to their partner about their math thinking before they write down their explanation.
  • Provide the following sentence frames for students to use as they complete the worksheet and talk about their math logic:
    • "The numbers ____ and ____ are multiples of ____ because..."
    • "I know that the number ____ is not a multiple of ____ because..."
  • Instruct students to work together to identify the number that is not a multiple, explain why it does not belong, and draw a picture or model to show their thinking. Circulate the room and listen in on students' conversations.


  • Place beginning students strategically with helpful and more advanced ELs.
  • Translate key terms into students home languages (L1) using online dictionaries or bilingual glossaries.
  • Provide sentence stems to help students answer the assessment questions.


  • Have students work on the Which Is Not a Multiple? worksheet independently and have them be the first to share their math thinking in a small group setting.
  • Ask students to paraphrase important learning points throughout the lesson to practice their language skills.
(5 minutes)
  • Give each student an index card and have them answer the following prompts:
    • Name 3 multiples of the number 6.
    • How do you know that these are multiples of 6?
    • Is 20 a multiple of 6? How do you know?
(2 minutes)
  • Call on a few students to share their answers to the assessment questions. Invite other students who are listening to give a thumbs up if they agree with their classmate's responses.
  • Remind students that it is important for them to strengthen their knowledge of multiplication by becoming expert skip counters and identifiers of multiples. Explain that in order to be flexible mathematicians, they should be able to easily see the connections and relationships between numbers.

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