Lesson plan

Musical Chair Multiplication

Get your students moving while practicing their multiplication facts! Bring an old favorite to the classroom as students move about and work problems out. This is a fun way to incorporate movement and learning with a twist.
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Students will be able to fluently multiply and divide within 100.

(5 minutes)
  • Ask students if they have ever played musical chairs.
  • Give a brief overview of the game, and model with how it is played with a small group of students.
  • Explain to students that today they will play a math version of musical chairs.
  • Tell the students that a multiplication fact card will be placed at each desk, and as the music plays they will walk or dance around the room until the music stops. Then they will need to quickly find a seat and solve the multiplication problem.
  • In this version, no chair will be removed so students can all get as much multiplication practice as possible.
(10 minutes)
  • Pass out a sheet of blank paper to each student. Model folding the paper into 16 equal parts. Have students follow along.
  • Have students number the squares in the upper left corner of each box to represent the problem number. Use both the front and the back of the sheet. Inform students that this will be their recording sheet.
  • Explain to students that a numbered sticky note will be placed on the corner of each desk along with a multiplication fact card. The numbered sticky note will represent the problem number.
  • Remind students to solve the equation and write their answer in the matching numbered box.
  • Explain to students that once the music begins they are to walk or dance around the room. When the music stops, students are to find the nearest chair to sit down in to solve their multiplication equation on their recording sheet.
(10 minutes)
  • Remind students that they must carry their recording sheet and pencil with them at all times.
  • Instruct students that when they have completed their equation, they must stand up behind their chair to signal that they are ready for the music to start.
  • Play a practice round of the game for students to get familiar with the audio signal, routine, and class expectations of the game.
  • When students feel comfortable with the routine of the game, they will begin playing the game as a group.
(20 minutes)
  • Even though this is a whole group activity, students will be solving the multiplication equations independently.
  • Allow students enough time to complete each equation.
  • Remind students that they may draw visuals on their recording sheet to help them find the product of an equation.
  • Visually monitor students to provide support when needed.
  • Enrichment: For students who need an extra challenge, designate a handful of multiplication fact cards as “Challenge Cards.” These cards can show multiplication word problems, multiplication equations with an unknown factor, or division equations and word problems. They can be designated with a differently colored index card.
  • Support: For students who need support, provide fact cards with matching illustrations. Students will be able to count the number of groups and units within a group to write a multiplication equation and its product.
(5 minutes)
  • To check for student understanding, monitor the classroom as students are playing the game.
  • You can also check students' recording sheets for correctness if necessary.
(10 minutes)
  • At the close of the activity, have students return to their seats with their recording sheets. Review answers with the class, as students check their own work.
  • For any missed problems, demonstrate how to solve the problem on the board for students.
  • Ask students what they enjoyed about the activity and what they found most challenging.

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