Multiplication is one of the four basic operations in arithmetic, along with addition
, subtraction and division. It is taught starting around second grade, once kids have mastered addition and subtraction. A solid understanding of addition is key because in essence, multiplication is nothing more than repeated addition, or adding groups of a number together. Once kids master multiplication, their math skills will expand exponentially.
If addition is watching numbers grow, then multiplication is watching numbers grow real fast. To help kids understand this concept, let’s break down the parts:
2 (multiplier) x 3 (multiplicand) = 6 (product)
In the example above, 2 is called the multiplier
, while 3 is called the multiplicand
. The multiplier and the multiplicand are also called factors. The answer to a multiplication problem is called the product
Another way to look at the equation is in terms of addition: 2 + 2 + 2 = 6. So multiplication is a handy shortcut to adding groups of a number together.
Multiplication has properties that are unique to its operation. Some of them are:
- Commutative Property: The numbers in the equation can be switched around without affecting the product.
Example: 2 x 3 = 6; 3 x 2 = 6
- Associative Property: It doesn’t matter how numbers are grouped when you multiply them; the result will still be the same.
Example: (2 x 3) x 2 = 12; 2 x (3 x 2) = 12
- Distributive Property: Anything inside the parenthesis can be multiplied separately by the multiplier.
Example: 2 x (3 + 2) = 2 x 3 + 2 x 2
- Identity Element: Multiplication has an identity element of 1, which means that any number multiplied by 1 results in that number’s identity being unchanged.
Example: 6 x 1 = 6.
- Zero Property: Any number multiplied by 0 is 0.
Example: 6 x 0 = 0
Multiplication is fun to learn and master. Use our resources to get your kids excited about its power to transform their arithmetic skills.