Lesson plan

Multiplication: Musical Chairs

In this fun, fast-paced multiplication review lesson, students will play a musical game as they practice their facts while applying different techniques to their problem-solving skills.
Need extra help for EL students? Try the Multi-Digit Multiplication Strategies pre-lesson.
EL Adjustments
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the Multi-Digit Multiplication Strategies pre-lesson.

Students will be able to quickly multiply two- and three-digit numbers using multiplication strategies.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(5 minutes)
  • Pose an example multiplication problem on the board, such as 7 x 29.
  • Ask students to name strategies for multiplying with their group.
  • After 1–2 minutes, have students share out and make a list of responses on the board.
(15 minutes)
  • Review each of the following strategies for multiplying by modeling how to solve these equations: partial products, mental math, lattice, and traditional algorithm:
    • Partial products: 5 x 64 = 5 x 60 + 5 x 4 = 320.
    • Mental math: For 10 x 22 you could think aloud: "I know that when I multiply any number by 10, I just have to add the 0 to the end so the answer is 220."
    • Lattice: set up the lattice squares for 3 x 76.
    • Traditional algorithm: 4 x 57.
(20 minutes)
  • Distribute the Multiplication Strategies Flip Books.
  • Instruct students to fold these in half and cut on the dotted line to create the flip book.
  • Review each strategy with additional sample problems.
  • Invite students to the board to solve the problems.
  • Students at their seats should follow along and record steps in their flip books.
(20 minutes)
  • Review directions for multiplication musical chairs:
    • Students will use scratch paper and clipboards or whiteboards and markers to rotate around the chairs.
    • Give each student a starting number.
    • Students will walk around while music plays and stop at the nearest chair when the music stops.
    • Once they stop, they will look at the number on the index card on the chair and multiply their starting number by that number.
    • The teacher will walk around to observe students' strategies and mathematical accuracy during this portion.
    • The teacher can choose to identify "winners," or students with the largest and smallest products if desired.
    • After the round, students use their products as their new starting number for the next round.
    • Repeat for five to ten more rounds or as time allows.


  • Give a lower starting number for multiplication musical chairs. Give these students the Football Multiplication worksheet for their assessment.


  • Give a higher starting number for multiplication musical chairs. Give these students the 3 Digit Multiplication worksheet for their assessment.
(15 minutes)
  • Distribute various multiplication worksheets to your students.
  • Have students work independently to complete the worksheet as their assessment using their preferred multiplication strategy.
  • Instruct students to label each problem with the name of the strategy they used.
(5 minutes)
  • Have students write in math journals or on scratch paper their response to the following question: Which multiplication strategy works best for you? Why?

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