EL Support Lesson

Multiplication Strategies

Help your students compare and connect two important multiplication strategies: equal groups and repeated addition. This lesson can stand alone or be used as a pre-lesson for *Candy Multiplication*.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Candy Multiplication lesson plan.
Grade Subject View aligned standards
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Candy Multiplication lesson plan.

Students will be able to use equal groups and repeated addition to understand the concept of multiplication.


Students will be able to compare and contrast strategies to solve multiplication problems using sentence starters.

(3 minutes)
  • Write the word "Multiplication" on the board and circle it. Ask students to share what words, phrases, strategies, or images come to mind when they see that word. Record their ideas around the circle on the board to create a concept web.
  • Tell learners that they will be focusing on two specific strategies they can use to solve multiplication problems today, and they will be comparing and contrasting them. Share that making connections between different mathematical strategies will help them build a better understanding of multiplication.
(7 minutes)
  • Tell students that there are some important vocabulary words they must understand so that they can explain their thinking clearly throughout today's lesson. These words will be used to help them understand concepts, but they will also be used to support their oral language.
  • Give each student a copy of the Glossary, and use the Vocabulary Cards to guide students down the list of words. Read each word and have students repeat it aloud. Then, choral read each definition. Explain each of the images and how it connects to the words and definitions.
  • Point out that there are several strategies that can be used to solve multiplication problems, but that today's lesson will only focus on equal groups and repeated addition.
  • Share a word problem involving multiplication and share how you can come up with the multiplication expression to solve the problem. (e.g., Each table in the classroom has 5 students. If there are 4 tables, how many students are in the classroom?)
  • Model using equal groups to solve the problem of 4 x 5 + ?. Explain that this problem reads "4 groups of 5". Draw 4 circles and put 5 dots inside each circle. Tell them that this strategy also provides a good visual to use when solving multiplication problems. Think aloud as you skip count to find the total number of students in the classroom (20).
  • Tell students that you are going to solve the problem using repeated addition. Write 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 on the board, and point out that each 5 represents one group of 5. Explain that this is less of a visual representation with a drawing than the other strategy, but it is related because it still represents the 5 students at each table. Model adding up the numbers to find the total of 20 students.
(12 minutes)
  • Create A-B partnerships, and tell the class that they will talk to their partner about their plan for solving a multiplication problem. Instruct Partner A to solve it by using equal groups, while Partner B solves it using repeated addition.
  • Write a multiplication problem on the board, such as 6 x 8 = ? , and provide real-life context to make the problem meaningful. (e.g., There are 8 crackers in each package. There are 6 packages in a box. If I buy the box, how many crackers will I have?)
  • Give partnerships time to solve the problems with their designated strategies using their whiteboards. Then, have them share their work with each other. Challenge them to compare and contrast the strategies they used by looking for similarities and differences.
  • Provide oral language support with sentence stems/frames:
    • A similarity/difference between the two strategies is ____.
    • I noticed that ____ is similar/different because ____.
    • One thing that is similar/different is ____.
  • Ask students to discuss the following key points in their partnerships:
    • What worked well in the strategy you used? (____ worked will in this strategy because ____.)
    • What would make your strategy easier to use? (____ would make the strategy easier to use because ____. and/or I'm not sure what would make the strategy easier to use because ____.)
  • Give students a new multiplication problem, such as 5 x 7 = ?, and have them switch strategies. Instruct them to follow the same process for discussion.
(8 minutes)
  • Facilitate a discussion, asking students to focus on specific relationships between the two multiplication strategies. Ask questions and provide sentence stems/frames to support the conversation:
    • Why does this approach include multiplication, and this one does not? (This approach includes multiplication while this one does not because ____.)
    • Who can restate ____'s reasoning in a different way? (Their reasoning was that ____.)
    • Who solved the problem the same way, but would explain it differently? (I also solved it by ____, and I would also say ____.)
    • How could this problem be solved in a way that is different from these two strategies? (Another way to solve it is ____.)
    • Do you agree or disagree? Why? (I agree/disagree because ____.)
    • How are these two strategies connected? (They are connected ____.)


  • Allow access to reference materials in home language (L1).
  • Have learners repeat instructions and key vocabulary to the teacher.
  • Provide a word bank of key terms and phrases for students to use in group and class discussions.
  • Group students intentionally based on academic and language needs.
  • Support students as they create a Vocabulary Card for each of the strategies used in today's lesson.


  • Allow learners to utilize glossaries and dictionaries for unfamiliar words in story problems.
  • Choose advanced ELs to share their ideas first in group and class discussions.
  • Have learners repeat instructions and key vocabulary, summarizing important information for the class.
  • Put students in mixed ability groups and challenge them to support their peers with the mathematical concepts, as well as the oral language.
(6 minutes)
  • Give each student an index card and have them reflect on the two multiplication strategies. Provide sentence starters/frames to support students as they reflect.
  • Ask the following questions and instruct students to answer them in complete sentences.
    • What is the biggest difference between the two strategies? (The biggest difference between the two strategies is ____.)
    • Which strategy do you think is the best to use to solve a multiplication problem? Why? (I think the strategy of ____ is better because ____. or I am not sure which strategy is the best to use because ____.)
(4 minutes)
  • Instruct students to return to their A-B partnerships to share their responses to their Exit Ticket. Call on a few nonvolunteers to share their response, as well as their partner's response.
  • Have students restate a peer's explanation and challenge them to add on to the statement. Provide sentence supports, such as "I agree with ____ because ____. I would also say ____."
  • Remind students that there are many strategies that we can use to solve multiplication problems, and we become stronger mathematicians when we can find the similarities and differences in them. When we see how they are related, we gain a deeper understanding of the way the multiplication works.

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