Lesson plan

Number Line Multiplication

Teach your students to use number lines as a strategy to multiply two single-digit factors.
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Students will be able to use number lines as a strategy to multiply two single-digit factors.

(5 minutes)
  • Review skip counting on number lines (see resources for skip counting practice if needed).
  • Explain, "Today we are going to learn how to use a number line to multiply two numbers and find a product."
(7 minutes)
  • Write a multiplication problem on the board, like 3 x 6.
  • Draw an arrow to each number and label them factor. Explain, "The numbers that we multiply are called factors."
  • Tell students, "To solve this, we need to make three groups of six."
  • Display or draw a blank number line that goes from 0 to 20.
  • Draw a “jump” from 0 to 6 on the number line and explain, "this is one group of six. I need to make 3 jumps of 6 to find the product of 3 x 6."
  • Draw two more jumps and circle the number 18. Explain, "this is the product, or the answer to the multiplication problem three times six.
(8 minutes)
  • Write another problem on board, like 4 x 5.
  • Display or draw a blank number line that goes from 0 to 20.
  • Before solving, have students talk with a partner to determine the number of jumps and the distance of each jump.
  • Invite a student to come draw on the number line to find the product.
  • Hand out blank number number lines.
  • Write a problem on the board (i.e. 2 x 7) and have students use their number lines and work with a partner to solve.
(15 minutes)
  • Write five more problems on the board. Have students solve them independently on their number lines.
  • When finished, invite a few students to share their number lines with the class.

Support:

  • Provide a partially completed number line and have students complete the remaining jumps.
  • Review skip counting with number lines (see resources).

Enrichment:

  • Have students make two different number lines that show the same multiplication problem (i.e. 7 x 8 and 8 x 7; commutative property of multiplication).
(10 minutes)
  • Hand out a half-length sentence strip to each student.
  • Have students count off to six.
  • Assign each number a multiplication problem (i.e. if you are a five, find the product of 8 x 4). Write the assigned problems on the board for student reference.
  • Instruct students to draw a number line for their assigned problem on their sentence strip using pencil. Then have them trace over with marker when they are finished.
  • Collect and check for understanding.
  • Optional: Display student number lines to the class.
(5 minutes)
  • Ask and discuss, "How can a number line help us understand multiplication? How is using a number line similar to repeated addition?"

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