Lesson plan

Multiplication R.A.C.E.

Teach your students how to use a variety of representations when creating and solving word problems. Simple acronyms and visual aides help make learning multiplication a breeze.
Grade Subject View aligned standards
  • Students should be able to provide multiple representations for multiplication and division.
(5 minutes)
  • Draw or display four different visual representations on the board, such as an Internet symbol, a no-smoking sign, or restroom signs. Choose images your students will recognize.
  • Ask your students to discuss the meaning behind each visual representation with a partner through think-pair-share.
  • Afterward, ask for class input in revealing the meaning behind each symbol, and encourage them to participate in the discussion.
  • Explain to them that a visual representation is a demonstration of an idea or image that is presented to provide meaning.
(10 minutes)
  • Write the following multiplication problem on the board: 2 x 4 = 8
  • Ask the students what visual representation could be drawn to demonstrate the meaning behind the multiplication problem.
  • After students finish making their suggestions, draw a line going up and down and a line going across it on the board and write the acronym R.A.C.E. inside each of the four parts. See the Visual Representations attachment, figure 1, for an example.
  • Tell students that in today’s lesson, they will be “racing” for an answer to multiplication problems.
  • Write the complete word for each of the first letters, and then provide a visual representation for the sample multiplication problem. See the Visual Representations attachment, figure 2, for an example.
(20 minutes)
  • Grab a sheet of chart paper and fold it into fours. Write the letters R.A.C.E inside the squares (one per square) and then write the following question on the board: Max the monkey loves bananas. Molly, his trainer, gives him 3 bananas every day. How many bananas does Max get per week?
  • Have students turn to their partners and suggest an answer.
  • When finished, ask students to share their answers with the class. Accept all correct answers, and model solving two of the four visual representations on the R.A.C.E chart.
  • Ask for a volunteer to help you solve for the remaining two portions of the map.
  • When completed, the R.A.C.E chart should look like figure 3 on the Visual Representations attachment.
  • Repeat this exercise with a different word problem if time permits.
(30 minutes)
  • Provide each student with a copy of the Multiply It! worksheet and two additional sheets of white paper.
  • Ask students to work individually to solve the five word problems by folding the sheets of paper into fours, and providing visual representation for each letter within the acronym.
  • Enrichment: Have students who need more of a challenge locate visual representations of multiplication and division in the classroom. Desks and students, the number of legs on a table, and the total number of tables in the classroom can all be examples of visual representations.
  • Support: Encourage students who need more help to practice their visual representations by providing them with manipulatives and five multiplication problems, instead of the Multiply It! worksheet.
(20 minutes)
  • Ask students to exchange papers with a partner.
  • Provide answers to the word problems as well as the visual representations of what their R.A.C.E. charts should look like, and have your students grade each other’s answers.
  • Collect their work when finished.
(5 minutes)
  • Have students practice finding visual representations of multiplication in the classroom.

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